Amnesty International on Wednesday issued a sharp condemnation of Interior Minister Eli Yishai's declaration that he will soon start imprisoning and deporting Sudanese nationals, saying that the "cruel" plan would violate Israel's international obligations.
It is unfortunate to see Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and the interior minister continue with their plan "to act cruelly toward asylum seekers in Israel and to violate [Israel's] international obligations that it took upon itself in the Refugee Convention and other treaties," Amnesty's refugee rights campaign coordinator Sarah Robinson said. Among its obligations, she noted, is the prohibition of criminalizing or imprisoning asylum seekers.
Saying that Israeli authorities know they cannot return Eritreans and Sudanese nationals to their home countries, Robinson continued, "Yishai and Netanyahu want to imprison asylum seekers who fled the terror of the Sudanese regime." The Israeli government's conduct, she added, is sewing the seeds of xenophobia.