+972 Magazine's Stories of the Week

Directly In Your Inbox

Analysis News
Visit our Hebrew site, "Local Call" , in partnership with Just Vision.

Hundreds around the world protest Israel's plan to deport refugees to Uganda

Demonstrators gather in Tel Aviv and in front Ugandan embassies in cities around the world to protest Israel’s plan to deport tens of thousands of Eritrean and Sudanese asylum seekers to Uganda. 

Asylum seekers and Israeli activists protest Israel's plan to deport tens of thousands of asylum seekers to Uganda. April 9, 2018. (Oren Ziv / Activestills.org)

Asylum seekers and Israeli activists protest Israel’s plan to deport tens of thousands of asylum seekers to Uganda. April 9, 2018. (Oren Ziv / Activestills.org)

Asylum seekers and activists protested in Tel Aviv and outside Ugandan embassies around the world on Monday against Israel’s plan to deport tens of thousands of asylum seekers there. After international pressure led Rwanda to back out of a secret agreement to accept asylum seekers deported from Israel, Israel now claims it has an identical agreement with Uganda.

The demonstrations come just one week after the Israeli government announced it was abandoning its plan to deport the African asylum seekers, most of whom fled Eritrea and Sudan, to Rwanda after reaching an agreement with the UN Refugee Agency. Under the agreement, UNHCR was supposed to work to resettle 16,250 asylum seekers in Western countries; Israel would provide legal status to the asylum seekers who remained in Israel.

A day after announcing the agreement, however, Netanyahu cancelled it due to intense criticism from the Right. The Israeli government now claims that “a second third country” — widely believed to be Uganda — has agreed to take in refugees deported from Israel.

In a brief to the High Court of Justice earlier in April, Israel’s attorney general wrote that Israel in fact had secret agreements with two countries to take in asylum seekers forcibly deported by Israel. A “special envoy to third countries” departed Israel for the “second third-country” Wednesday morning, April 3, to ensure it would not back out of its allegedly secret agreement with Israel.

Uganda has denied the existence of any agreement. Ugandan Foreign Minister Henry Okello Oryem told AP that his country will turn back any deported asylum seekers sent there. “We do not have a contract, any understanding, formal or informal, with Israel for them to dump their refugees here.”

Asylum seekers and Israelis protest Israel's plan to deport tens of thousands of refugees to Uganda. Tel Aviv, April 9, 2018. (Oren Ziv / Activestills.org)

Asylum seekers and Israelis protest Israel’s plan to deport tens of thousands of refugees to Uganda. Tel Aviv, April 9, 2018. (Oren Ziv / Activestills.org)

Asylum seeker and international activists are hoping to repeat the success of the earlier campaign that forced Rwanda to pull of out its secret agreement with Israel. The combination of anti-deportation rallies across Israel and around the world, activists and journalists (+972 Magazine included) working to expose how both Rwanda and Uganda refuse to actually absorb the refugees deported by Israel, public and international on the Rwandan government, and strategic lawsuits challenging the deportation plan itself all played a role in forcing Rwanda to cancel its secret agreement with Israel.

Protests are taking place or are planned in Washington D.C., London, Berlin, Paris, Boston, Beijing, Brussels, Geneva, the Hague, Chicago, Madrid, New York, Toronto, Melbourne, Herzliya, Athens, Stockholm, Buenos Aires, Milan, and the San Francisco Bay area.

London

Activists brave the rain to protest outside the Ugandan embassy in London. April 9, 2018. (Courtesy of Maayan Niezna)

Activists brave the rain to protest outside the Ugandan embassy in London. April 9, 2018. (Courtesy of Uganda Say No, London)

Berlin

Activists in Berlin protest outside the Ugandan embassy against Israel's plan to deport tens of thousands of refugees. April 9, 2018. (Courtesy of Liat Bolzman)

Activists in Berlin protest outside the Ugandan embassy against Israel’s plan to deport tens of thousands of refugees. April 9, 2018. (Courtesy of Liat Bolzman, photo by Ron Rothschild)

Stockholm

Activists in Stockholm protest outside the Ugandan embassy against Israel's plan to deport Eritrean and Sudanese refugees there. April 9, 2018. (Courtesy of Netta Beer)

Activists in Stockholm protest outside the Ugandan embassy against Israel’s plan to deport Eritrean and Sudanese refugees there. April 9, 2018. (Courtesy of Netta Beer)

Paris

Activists in Paris protest against Israel's plan to deport asylum seekers to Uganda. April 9, 2018. (Courtesy of Roni Geffen)

Activists in Paris protest against Israel’s plan to deport asylum seekers to Uganda. April 9, 2018. (Courtesy of Roni Geffen)

Before you go...

A lot of work goes into creating articles like the one you just read. And while we don’t do this for the money, even our model of non-profit, independent journalism has bills to pay.

+972 Magazine is owned by our bloggers and journalists, who are driven by passion and dedication to the causes we cover. But we still need to pay for editing, photography, translation, web design and servers, legal services, and more.

As an independent journalism outlet we aren’t beholden to any outside interests. In order to safeguard that independence voice, we are proud to count you, our readers, as our most important supporters. If each of our readers becomes a supporter of our work, +972 Magazine will remain a strong, independent, and sustainable force helping drive the discourse on Israel/Palestine in the right direction.

Support independent journalism in Israel/Palestine Donate to +972 Magazine today
View article: AAA
Share article
Print article
  • LEAVE A COMMENT

    * Required

    COMMENTS

    1. Shep Fargotstein

      Israel has every right to deport illegal immigrants. A) every country has immigration laws. B) allowing illegal immigrants from Africa and not Arabs/Muslims would be discrimitory. C) Israel is too small and has limited resources for …if allowed…..would be a open ended flood of these people.

      Reply to Comment
      • Ben

        This is off topic.

        Reply to Comment