60 refugee law experts object to Israel’s plan to deport asylum seekers

Sixty experts in refugee law from the United States, Canada and Europe urge Israel’s attorney general to stop the government from deporting tens of thousands of African asylum seekers in the country, saying that carrying out the plans would violate international law.

“We call on the state of Israel to refrain from carrying out the deportations and to release those who are being detained for refusing to cooperate with their prospective deportations,” says the letter, sent Sunday to Avichai Mandelblit, from experts at universities including Harvard, McGill, and Oxford. “In carrying out these deportations, Israel will be in serious breach of its obligations under international refugee and human rights law.”

The letter says, among other charges, that the plan to deport the asylum seekers from Sudan and Eritrea to a third unidentified country would place them at risk because it lacked sufficient oversight.

“While typically such agreements aim to promote fair responsibility-sharing or prevent onward migration, these agreements do the exact opposite,” the letter says. “They take refugees from Israel and place them in countries which are struggling to host and protect the growing numbers of refugees who have already reached them.”


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