Rwanda and Uganda will start receiving a large number of African refugees deported from Israel “in a matter of weeks,” a court in Tel Aviv was told on Tuesday.
During the hearing of a case filed by human-rights organisations seeking to block the deportation of refugees, mainly from Eritrea and Sudan, State Prosecutor Shosh Shmueli told the High Court of Justice in Tel Aviv that the Israeli government plans to begin deporting asylum seekers within the “next few weeks,” according to a report by Israeli newspaper Haaretz.
The official said that the government will begin implementing the agreements signed with the recipient countries.
Both Kigali and Kampala have admitted working with Israel on the issue of African refugees, but little has been revealed of what the agreements entail. According to reports, both countries have already started receiving African refugees, but mass deportations of the close to 40,000 are about to start.
When the High Court president Esther Hayut asked about the schedule for the deportations the state prosecutor replied, “Very soon.” The Judge asked “How soon?” to which the state prosecutor replied, “Weeks.”
Seven judges are hearing the petition. Human-rights groups are seeking to compel Israel to halt the deportations and scrap a law requiring asylum seekers to deposit 20 per cent of their earnings into an account that they will only be given access to upon leaving Israel.