A petition on behalf of 119 human rights activists to Israel’s High Court of Justice is the most serious challenge yet to the Israeli government’s plan to deport tens of thousands of asylum seekers.
The Israeli government’s plan to deport tens of thousands of African asylum seekers may face its most serious hurdle as the country’s High Court of Justice hears a challenge to the deportation plan, slated to begin in two weeks.
The deportation plan is based on an agreement between Israel and Rwanda, which Israel insists must remain secret and which Rwanda has denied even exists.
Supreme Court Justice Hanan Melcer asked the state attorney how asylum seekers can be sure they will receive what Israel is promising them — legal status and the ability to work — if the Rwandan government denies that any agreement exists. According to Eitay Mack, who along with Attorney Avigdor Feldman is representing 119 Israeli human rights activists petitioning the court for an injunction, the state representative was completely unprepared and unable to answer this question.
“If some of the refugees have problems in Rwanda, and theoretically they go to a Rwandan court, the court will say, ‘the Rwandan government denies that there is an agreement,’ so how could this agreement be enforceable?” the justice asked the state, according to Mack.
+972 Magazine went to Rwanda and Uganda last month to see how the asylum seekers that Israel deports fare upon their arrival. The deported asylum seekers are not given any status in Rwanda and most are pressured or pushed out of the country within days of their arrival — left with little cash and no travel documents.
In a hearing on Monday, the court recommended that the government freeze the deportations until that and other key questions are resolved. The justices declined to issue an injunction before hearing the state’s response, which is expected by Wednesday afternoon.
In court on Monday, according to Mack, the state was completely unprepared to answer any of the court’s questions. “The judge told the state, ‘you thought that we were going to get to the hearing today and that we were going to dismiss the petition without hearing it,’” Mack said in an interview on Tuesday. “The state didn’t have any plan B [in the event] that the court would want to see the agreement.”
The High Court approved a previous version agreement with Rwanda...Read More