Israel frees 200 asylum seekers imprisoned for refusing deportation after the government admits there is no secret agreement with Uganda that allows for the mass deportation of refugees.
Israel released 207 Eritrean and Sudanese asylum seekers on Sunday, all of whom had been indefinitely imprisoned for refusing deportation to Uganda or Rwanda.
Israel’s High Court ruled last Tuesday that the government had until Sunday at noon to present a new agreement with Uganda that would allow the mass deportation of refugees to proceed.
In the absence of an agreement, the Court ordered the government to release all asylum seekers who had been imprisoned for refusing deportation to Rwanda or Uganda.
The state failed to meet the court’s deadline.
Over the course of the past month, the Israeli government’s plan to forcibly deport tens of thousands of African asylum seekers, mostly from Eritrea and Sudan, frayed and appears now to have almost completely fallen apart.
After intense international pressure led Rwanda to back out of a secret agreement with Israel to accept deported refugees, Prime Minister Netanyahu announced a different arrangement in early April. In exchange for the UN helping resettle 16,250 asylum seekers in Western countries, Israel would provide legal status to those who remained.
But just hours after announcing the UN deal, under pressure from the Israeli Right, Netanyahu cancelled it.
The Israeli government has since claimed that it was close to reaching a secret agreement with Uganda similar to the one it claimed to have with Rwanda (to accept forcibly deported asylum seekers).Read More