Israel has announced an agreement with two African countries to take in illegal African migrants who would “voluntarily return,” local media has reported.
The Jerusalem Post and Haaretz reported on Thursday that Israel’s Population, Immigration and Borders Authority, PIBA, had released a statement two days earlier saying African migrants in Israel could “voluntarily return” to Rwanda or Uganda, which had also agreed not to deport the migrants to their home countries.
PIBA’s statement said the process prepared by Interior Minister Gilad Erdan was “to expand the voluntary return of infiltrators to a third country”.
Israel’s Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein approved the deportation of African migrants, mainly Eritrean and Sudanese, despite the protest of some human rights groups.
Risk of Imprisonment
His decision was based on a report prepared by the Israeli Foreign Ministry which said the migrants’ lives would not be in danger in Uganda or Rwanda, according to Haaretz.
Representatives from the PIBA are to go to the Holot detention centre in the country’s south and determine which migrants should be sent first.
The Israeli state said it would fund airfare and hotel accommodation and provide a specific amount of money to migrants who “voluntarily return”, and they would be informed of which country they would be going to after the representatives’ decision.
Migrants selected for “voluntary deportation” are to have 30 days to prepare to leave, while those who refuse may face imprisonment, according to the statement.
– Read more: Israel to Send African Migrants to ‘Third Country’ – Middle East Monitor