Interior minister delays planned deportation of Congolese migrants

Interior Minister Aryeh Deri has delayed the planned deportation of migrants from the Democratic Republic of Congo in Israel after the Foreign Ministry says they may be in danger if they are returned to their home country.

In a letter to the director-general of the Population Immigration and Border Authority, Deri writes the move comes “in light of recent updates from professional sources at the Foreign Ministry, and based on their professional recommendation to delay my decision concerning ending the collective protection of nationals from the Democratic Republic of Congo because of recent developments there.”

The letter was signed in February, but was revealed today in response to an appeal by rights groups against the move.

There are estimated to be hundreds of Congolese citizens residing in Israel, who fled the DRC following violence in the country in the early 2000s.

Congolese activists demonstrate outside Prime Minister Netanyahu’s office in Jerusalem on December 18, 2011, calling for the Israeli government to disregard newly elected Congolese president Joseph Kabila and support leader of opposition Etienne Tshisekedi instead. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

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