NewsEast & Horn AfricaIsrael-Africa: Immigrants-for-arms deals attract criticism

Fri,17Nov2017

Posted on Monday, 19 August 2013 10:13

Israel-Africa: Immigrants-for-arms deals attract criticism

By Mark Anderson

Israeli immigration officers escort an African migrant in south Tel Aviv/Photo©ReutersIsrael announced in early July that it would sign deals with three unnamed African countries that would see Israel send them Eritrean and Sudanese migrants in exchange for arms and military aid.

 

Rights groups condemned a move a week later to deport 1,400 asylum seekers, some held for more than a year, back to Eritrea and Sudan.

Life in Israel for many african immigrants has become more difficult over the past few years as the government adopts a harder line on immigration.

Sudan and Israel do not have diplomatic relations, so migrants are returned through a third country.

Despite reports that Israel has repatriated more than 2,100 sudanese citizens this year, no details of the countries in question in the arms-for-migrants deal have emerged.

The sudanese government said it would apply a law that includes a 10-year prison sentence for anyone who has visited Israel.

Sudanese media reported that the security services have interrogated returned asylum seekers about their time in Israel.

despite concern from human rights organisations, the Israeli government sent a group of 14 Eritreans to Asmara on 14 July after giving them $1,500 each.

Many Eritreans flee the country to escape mandatory military service.

Since 2006, around 60,000 Africans – including 35,000 Eritreans are thought to have crossed into Israel through its southern border with Egypt after walking more than 1,500km through the desert and braving the threat of kidnapping during their journeys. ●



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