Israel Gives African Migrants Three Months to Leave
Israel has announced plans requiring thousands of African migrants to leave the country within three months.
Around 40,000 people have fled African countries for Israel, but very few people are able to gain asylum in the country. Most come from the repressive nations of Sudan and Eritrea, and are instead deported by Israel to unnamed “third countries,” known to be Rwanda and Uganda.
The Israeli government is looking for ways to step up deportations and close down the Holot migrant detention center this year. The Israeli press recently reported that Israel plans to start forcibly deporting migrants and paying Rwanda $5,000 per person to take them in.
Under the newly announced plan, migrants who come to renew their residency permits will be told they have “two options only: voluntary deportation or sitting in prison,” according to Israeli ministers, the Guardian reported.
The head of the U.N. refugee agency has expressed concern about the plans. “Israel has a painful history of migration and exile,” Filippo Grandi said. “New generations must not forget that refugees do not flee out of choice but because they don’t have any other choice.”
Somali IDPs ‘Living in the Open’ After Eviction From Camps
Some 4,000 internally displaced Somali families have been evicted from displacement camps in the country and had their homes destroyed, U.N. officials said.
More than 23 settlements for displaced Somalis were destroyed near the capital Mogadishu, including schools and sanitation facilities, according to a U.N. statement.
“Some of these displaced people have walked long distances from different parts of the country fleeing drought and conflict,” said U.N. humanitarian coordinator for Somalia Peter de Clercq. “Families, including children, women and the elderly are now living in the open,” he said.
More than 2 million people have been internally displaced inside Somalia by conflict, drought and hunger. Around half of them fled their homes in the past year.
Italy: 10,000 Refugees in Libya to Come to Europe in 2018
After the first group of refugees were evacuated from Libya to Europe, the Italian government said up to 10,000 refugees in Libya would be resettled in Europe in 2018.
The group of 162 refugees from Eritrea, Ethiopia, Somalia and Yemen arrived in Rome on December 22. It was the first evacuation of vulnerable refugees stuck in Libya by the U.N. refugee agency.
Most international efforts to date have focused on returning migrants in Libya to their countries of origin. The U.N. migration agency, IOM, said 19,370 migrants voluntarily returned home under the E.U.-funded program in 2017, and the agency plans to help at least 30,000 return in 2018.
- NPR: The Year the U.S. Refugee Resettlement Program Unraveled
- Al Jazeera: Refugees in Greece Reflect on Another Year of Waiting
- The Washington Post: This African Migrant Dreamed of Reaching Europe. A Phone Call Changed Everything
- The Guardian: Asylum Offices ‘In a Constant State of Crisis,’ Say Whistleblowers