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On the intention of the Israeli government to forcibly deport asylum-seekers to African countries

Statement by Israeli human rights organizations on the intention of the Israeli government to forcibly deport asylum-seekers to African countries:

“The initiative of the Ministry of Interior exposes what we’ve all known before – there is no such thing as ‘voluntary departure.’ The decision of the Minister of Interior and Attorney General removes the disguises the State employed before and makes it clear that Israel will work to deport asylum-seekers in any way possible, including illegal ones. The transfer of asylum-seekers to other countries without agreements and detailed commitments that ensure that asylum-seekers will be protected is illegal. The testimonies we and others have collected thus far prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that Uganda and Rwanda are not safe countries: the documents and money of asylum-seekers who arrive from Israel is taken from them upon landing, they are not granted any legal status or formal protection from deportation, and because asylum-seekers cannot settle there, the deportees are forced to keep searching for refuge in other places, exposed to abuse and exploitation. The government should divulge the agreements it made with Uganda and Rwanda, and reveal the guarantees for the safety of asylum-seekers the agreement provides, and what was given to those counties in return for accepting Israel’s unwanted asylum-seekers.
We regret that even before the new government has been formed and a Minister of Interior has been appointed, outgoing Minister of Interior Gilad Erdan is attempting to make political gain by infringing upon the human rights of asylum-seekers residing in Israel”.

Signatories of the statement: The Hotline for Refugees and Migrants, the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, ASSAF – aid organization for refugees and asylum-seekers in Israel, Physicians for Human Rights-Israel, Kav LaOved and Amnesty International