Israel releases 207 African prisoners
Publish date: 16 April 2018
Issue Number: 769
Diary: IBA Legalbrief Africa
Israel has released 207 African migrants from prison following a Supreme Court ruling after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu controversially reversed a deal with the UN refugee agency on the detainees' fate. There are about 42 000 African migrants in Israel. Authorities transferred 207 of them from a nearby open detention facility in February after they refused to leave the country. A report on the News24 site notes that the Supreme Court last week gave the government until Sunday to finalise a deal it said it was working on to deport some of the migrants to another country. Without a deal, the court said authorities must release those held at Saharonim prison.
Meanwhile, Uganda's government has announced that it would accept about 500 Eritrean and Sudanese refugees from Israel. It follows speculation that some African countries had signed a deal to take in Africans who are being forcibly deported from Israel. BBC News reports that Musa Ecweru, Uganda's Minister for Refugees, said it would only accept those who already had refugee status in Israel. They would then be allowed to choose to live in refugee settlements or in urban areas. Uganda has been hailed worldwide for its open-door refugee policy and is currently hosting more than 1.4m refugees from its neighbours and beyond.