World News

Uganda denies it agreed to take deported African migrants from Israel

Uganda denies it agreed to take deported African migrants from Israel

Israel reported that a program has been in force since today that will force almost 40,000 illegal immigrants to choose between expulsion and imprisonment, according to the France press, quoted by BTA.

Human rights activists in Israel as well as global NGO Human Rights Watch are relieved that both Rwanda and Uganda's decision will derail Israel's plans and force the country to develop a more respectful deal for the asylum seekers.

The denial came a day after Israel launched the programme to force some 38 000 migrants, mainly Eritreans and Sudanese, to leave the country.

Migrants have until the end of March to leave, according to the Israeli government, and each will receive a plane ticket and 2,900 euros.

Olivier Nduhungirehe, Rwanda's Minister of State in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, denied on Friday that his country has signed a deal to accept asylum seekers that Israel hopes to remove from inside its borders.

Israel said on Wednesday it would pay thousands of African migrants living illegally in the country to leave, threatening them with jail if they are caught after the end of March. The government now counts approximately 35,000 refugees in the country as "infiltrators", in part because they do not have official refugee status.

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Interior Minister Arye Deri said earlier this week that Israel is "embarking on a big operation of infiltrating the infiltrators into a third country", referring to Rwanda and Uganda.

"Rwanda has no deal whatsoever with #Israel to host any African migrant from that country".

The U.N. refugee agency in November said about 27,500 Eritreans and 7,800 Sudanese were in Israel and that only eight Eritreans and two Sudanese had been recognized as refugees by authorities.

"Uganda is disturbed by these reports", Foreign Minister Henry Okello Oryem told AFP.

"There is no written agreement or any form of agreement between the government of Uganda and Israeli government to accept refugees from Israel". Prior to Wednesday's approval, the Population and Immigration Authority in Israel notified migrants from Sudan and Eritrea that as of January 1 they must return to their own countries, or to a third nation - reported to be either Rwanda or Uganda - or be jailed until they are deported.

Those who decline will face arrest, with reports saying Netanyahu asked his security adviser to draw up a plan to forcibly expel undocumented migrants who are unwilling to leave by boarding them onto flights in handcuffs if necessary.


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