Eritrean asylum seekers in detention in Israel are being urged by immigration officials to make voluntary return to their home country, saying there is no other way they can be released, according to a statement by the Hotline for Migrant Workers this week.
A press release by HMW says that they have received testimony from five detainees who said they were told by immigration officers, prison officials, and translators that their only way to be freed is to agree to go back to Eritrea or to Uganda.
Eritrea is run by a dictatorship and is considered one of the worst human rights abusers in the world. Asylum seekers who return could very well be in danger of persecution by the regime.
The HMW said they were told by a group of asylum seekers that a group of 25 Eritreans agreed to return to Uganda and were taken on Monday to Ben-Gurion International Airport where they were told they were boarding a flight to Eritrea. They were then taken to an immigration office in Beer Sheva where they told officials they would not return to Eritrea, according to the HMW.