In early April 2015, the Israeli government confirmed that it had struck an unusual deal with the government of Rwanda. In return for “millions of dollars in grants and sales,”[i] the central African state would take in asylum seekers from Eritrea and Sudan currently living in Israel. According to media reports, Uganda is contemplating a similar agreement.[ii]
Between 2006 and 2013, approximately 60,000 asylum seekers, most from Eritrea and Sudan, entered Israel through its southern border with Egypt. Seeking a safe haven, they faced a government that deliberately obstructed possibilities for a more stable and dignified life. Israel’s plan to trade asylum seekers to what it calls “safe third countries” demonstrates that the government is prepared to employ unorthodox means, and incur financial expenses, to rid itself of its asylum-seeking population.
The “third country deal” is only the latest in a series of Israeli policy decisions that have compromised asylum seekers’ lives and well-being over the years. Read more…