Israel and the UN signed an agreement to transfer more than 16,000 African migrants to Western countries, including Germany. Arriving illegally in Israeli territory, they were threatened with expulsion or imprisonment.
Israel announced on April 2 that it had canceled a controversial project to deport African migrants and signed an agreement with the UN to resettle some of these migrants to Western countries.
“The UN High Commission for Refugees and Israel have reached an agreement allowing the departure of at least 16,250 African migrants to Western countries, while the State of Israel will settle the status of those who remain on the continent. place, “said a statement from the office of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. According to him, the migrants in question will go to Canada, Germany and Italy.
The Israeli government had planned to allow illegal migrants to leave by early April – either for their country of origin or for a third country – or to go to prison indefinitely . This government plan was widely criticized, including by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). According to the Israeli Ministry of the Interior, 42,000 African migrants, mainly from Sudan and Eritrea, live in Israel, half of whom – women and children – were not threatened by the plan.
These African migrants arrived overwhelmingly after 2007 by infiltrating from Egyptian Sinai. The border with Egypt, at the time porous, has since been made almost hermetic. They settled in large numbers in the slums of Tel Aviv.
“The agreement signed with UNHCR allows the immediate cancellation of the expulsion to a third country provided for in the previous plan,” says the office of the Prime Minister. Thousands of African migrants are expected to obtain a status allowing them to legalize their situation by staying in Israel, the statement said.