The UN refugee agency on Tuesday called on Israel to halt its policy of relocating over 33,000 Eritreans and Sudanese.
“UNHCR is again appealing to Israel to halt its policy of relocating Eritreans and Sudanese to sub-Saharan Africa,” William Spindler, the agency’s spokesman, said in a news conference on Tuesday in Geneva.
The appeal came after some 80 cases were identified in which people relocated by Israel risked their lives by taking dangerous journeys to Europe via Libya.
On Jan. 1, Israel ordered thousands of African migrants to leave the country by April or face imprisonment.
Rights groups and activists expressed their outrage over the decision.
“We have had a history of being migrants, and we find this treatment of African migrants disturbing and racist,” Jessica Sherman, spokesperson for Jewish Voices for a Just Peace (JVJP), told Anadolu Agency last week.
According to UN, there are some 27,000 Eritreans and 7,700 Sudanese in Israel.
“Since Israel took over refugee status determination from UNHCR in 2009, only ten Eritreans and one Sudanese have been recognized as refugees. Israel has not received any Eritreans or Sudanese since May 2016,” the UNHCR’s spokesman said.