The United Nations refugee agency has called on Israeli authorities to scrap a new program that forces thousands of African refugees out of the occupied territories.
William Spindler, spokesman for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), said in a press briefing on Tuesday in the Swiss city of Geneva that the program was not “coherent” and “has been implemented not in a very transparent manner.”
“We are again appealing to Israel to halt its policy of relocating Eritreans and Sudanese to sub-Saharan Africa,” Spindler said.
“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.”
Spindler said some 27,000 Eritreans and 7,700 Sudanese lived in Israel, but authorities there had only granted refugee status to 11 since 2009.
In Europe, Eritreans have a very high rate of recognition as refugees fleeing war or persecution, the UNHCR spokesman said. “So we would expect that among them, many would qualify for refugee status.”
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