State to High Court: Working toward migrant deportation deal to Uganda

The circumstances of the deal of the third country, widely reported to be Uganda, were not revealed.

April 10, 2018 12:09
1 minute read.

African migrants in Tel Aviv. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)

The state notified the High Court of Justice on Tuesday that it may be close to a deal with a third country for deporting Israel's African migrants.

Following April's chaotic series of contradictory government policy announcements, the state said as part of a legal brief that a deal may be signed as early as Tuesday afternoon, and informed that 1,749 migrants had been deported to the third country since 2015.

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Migrants, activists in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv protest Netanyahu's scrapping of relocation deal, April 3, 2018 (Reuters/Tamara Zieve)

The circumstances of the deal of the third country, widely reported to be Uganda, were not revealed.

However, the brief included details of previous activity, detailing that 485 migrants were deported to the third country in 2015, 506 in 2016, 630 in 2017 and 128 to date in 2018.

This comes as Uganda has stated publicly that it is not accepting migrants from Israel.

Just over a week ago, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced that Israel was halting its policy of deporting migrants to Rwanda or detaining those that refused deportation, in favor of a deal with the UN to facilitate deportation of around 16,000 migrants to Western countries, with another 20,000 plus migrants staying in Israel.

However, only hours later, Netanyahu suspended the UN deal and by the next day, he had reneged on the deal, with the state telling the court it was going to try to replace Rwanda with a different third country.

Tuesday's brief reiterated that the government's envoy to the third country has affirmed that the treatment of African migrants being deported there meets the High Court's required standard.

Human rights groups have disputed such assurances in the past.

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