GENEVA, November 20, 2017 (WAFA) – The Geneva-based Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor condemned on Monday the Israeli government‘s decision to shut down a migrant detention center and forcibly expel around 40,000 African migrants who entered the country illegally.
“This treatment of African migrants by Israel is offensive and human rights violations are feared after threats of imprisonment for those who do not leave the country within a three-month deadline,” said Euro-Med in a statement.
The Israeli cabinet voted unanimously on Sunday to close the Holon migrant detention center in southern Israel and gave 40,000 African migrants three months to leave the country voluntarily or face forcible deportation.
Euro-Med said that although the main causes for the emigration were economic, many Africans had fled persecution in their home countries.
It said that deporting them collectively violates the 1951 Refugee Convention, which guarantees refugees full protection against being repatriated. It also violates article 14 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which provides that: “Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution.”
Over the past two years, Israel has deported 20,000 African migrants, and has signed agreements with Uganda and Rwanda in which they agreed to receive migrants deported, while it recognized less than 1% of asylum applications of migrants from Africa.
Despite the fact that African movement towards Israel is a mixed migration flow stemming from economic motives and the need to escape political persecution, migrants are treated unfairly and subjected to racism and discrimination, said Euro-Med.
In recent years, Israel has sought to identify the numbers of migrants, build a fence along the border with Egypt, a common route of migration in the past, and sent many migrants to prison in the desert - and in some cases to third countries in Africa.
The Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor called on Israel “to stop its violations against migrants from African countries, especially its expulsion procedures to a third country without migrants‘ consent.”