NewsEast & Horn AfricaUganda considering Israel request to take African migrants

Sun,22Jul2018

Posted on Friday, 13 April 2018 15:54

Uganda considering Israel request to take African migrants

By Reuters

Jan. 22, 2014: An African migrant covers his mouth with tape during a protest in front of the U.S. embassy, demanding asylum and work rights from the Israeli government in Tel Aviv, Israel. Photo: Oded Balilty/AP/SIPAUganda is considering a request from Israel to take in 500 migrants from Eritrea and Sudan, a minister said on Friday (April 13), the first time the East African nation has acknowledged it is in talks over such a deal.

Musa Ecweru, Uganda's Minister of State for Relief, Disaster Preparedness and Refugees said "all refugees world over" should be "voluntarily repatriated with strict observance and adherence to international law", but did not give further details on the possible deal.

He said: "There are a number of them who are in Kampala here who are doing business but we recognize them as our refugees and they have been documented by us, so we will assess them again on a case by case basis, those who might want to do business in Kampala or Jinja, Soroti or wherever we can facilitate them to do that if they have the capacity. Those who are unable and they want to go and maybe join their colleagues because Eritreans are mainly in Hoima, there are some Eritreans in Nakivale in Western Uganda we shall see if we can link them up with their loved ones."

Close to 8000 migrants

About 4,000 migrants have left Israel for Rwanda and Uganda since 2013 under a voluntary programme but Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has come under pressure from his right-wing voter base to expel thousands more.

Official documents submitted to the Israeli Supreme Court on Tuesday (April 10) said authorities have identified close to 8,000 Eritrean and Sudanese migrants it would potentially deport under a compulsory expulsion plan.

Asked about the discrepancy Ecweru though told Reuters the deal under discussion with Israel covered only 500 refugees. A spokesman for Netanyahu did not respond to a request for comment.



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