Rwandan President Paul Kagame has confirmed that his country will take in Africans being deported from Israel—as long as the deportations are done “in accordance with international law”—which Israel has already announced that they will be.
The deportations—set to start within the next eight weeks—will all be “legal” because the Africans will all have signed papers to the effect that they have agreed to leave and are doing so voluntarily—because otherwise they will be locked up in Israeli prisons indefinitely until they agree to leave.
According to a report in the Times of Israel, Kagame told Israseli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Davos, Switzerland, where they were attending the World Economic Forum, that his country would “accept asylum-seekers Israel is looking to deport if the move was made in accordance with international law.”
Of course, Netanyahu agreed to Kagame’s assertion, a statement from the Prime Minister’s Office read, and “the pair were said to discuss expanding cooperation between their two countries.”
The statement did not elaborate on the details of Israel’s plan to expel over 38,000 Africans pretending to be “asylum seekers,” nor did it relate to what Rwanda would be getting in return for its cooperation.
“Netanyahu agreed with President Kagame, who made clear that he would only accept a process that fully complies with international law,” the statement read.
Earlier this week, Rwanda denied that the country had ever signed a “secret deal” with Israel under which Israel could forcibly deport African asylum seekers to Kigali, following a protest outside the Rwandan Embassy in Herzilya a day earlier.
– Males who apply after February 1 to renew their permit to stay in Israel will be told to leave Israel within 60 days if their asylum applications are rejected, if they have not applied for asylum, or if they registered as asylum seekers after 2017.
– An “infiltrator” who “does not voluntarily agree to leave” will face “enforcement and deportation proceedings.” They also say the procedures may be applied later to other Eritrean and Sudanese “infiltrators,” including, but not limited to, asylum seekers who lodged claims before January 2018 that are still pending.
In November, Rwandan Foreign Affairs Minister Louise Mushikiwabo said the country could accept approximately 10,000 “asylum seekers” from Israel. Israel will pay $5,000 to the Rwandan government for each deported African, plus a $3,500 “leaving grant” directly to the person being deported.
This money is enough for the deported Africans to make their way to Europe, where many of those already deported from the Jewish ethnostate have already shown up.
Previously, Rwanda and Uganda accepted about 4,000 Africans who had already signed a document saying they had “willingly left” Israel.
The U.N. refugee agency said Israel’s policy has been in place since 2016, but Israel generally has not applied it; however, UNHCR spokesman William Spindler says Israel’s plans, announced January 1, to forcibly relocate Eritreans and Sudanese to countries in Africa or have them face indefinite detention, “are of great concern.”
“Official statements that the plans may eventually target families and those with pending asylum claims, or that asylum seekers might be taken to the airport in handcuffs, are particularly alarming…Forced relocation to countries that do not offer effective protection and the onward movement of these people to Libya and Europe is particularly worrisome,” Spindler said.
Between November 2015 and December 2017, UNHCR staff in Rome interviewed 80 Eritrean refugees or asylum seekers—all had been forcibly relocated by Israel. Spindler says their cases demonstrate the dangers of this policy.
The Human Rights Watch (HRW) organization has also called on Israel not lo lock up the Africans who don’t accept the “voluntary” deportation package.
Describing the indefinite detention policy for those who don’t leave as the “latest in a series of coercive measures against these groups,” the HRW said that this was “almost certainly” going to “result in mass unlawful asylum seeker detention.”
Eritreans and Sudanese in Israel have been unable to obtain protection because, according to the United Nations refugee agency, “Israel’s unfair asylum system has either prevented or discouraged them from lodging asylum claims or has unfairly dismissed their claims.”
Israeli authorities categorize them, along with all irregular border-crossers, as “infiltrators” and have recognized fewer than 1 percent of asylum applicants as refugees, compared with acceptance rates in the European Union of 90 percent for Eritreans and 60 percent for Sudanese, the HRW statement continued.
“In the latest chapter of its longstanding quest to dodge its refugee protection duties, Israel is threatening to lock up thousands of asylum seekers who refuse to leave,” said Gerry Simpson, associate refugee director at Human Rights Watch.
On January 1, 2018, Israel’s Population, Immigration and Borders Authority (PIBA), under the Interior Ministry, announced plans to indefinitely detain thousands of Eritrean and Sudanese men if they refuse to leave for Rwanda or Uganda by March 31. Although the first phase applies only to some men, later phases could extend the policy to others and to women and children.
There were 27,018 Eritreans and 7,731 Sudanese in Israel as of March 2, 2017, according to the PIBA. Since 2013, about 14,000 have left Israel, including as a result of government measures against asylum seekers involving prolonged or indefinite detention.