No migrant deal signed with Israel – Rwanda and Uganda


Rwanda and Uganda have not struck any deal to take in African migrants from Israel under a scheme condemned by rights groups.

Israel said last week it would pay thousands of African migrants living illegally in the country to go home or to “third countries”, threatening them with jail if they are caught after the end of March.

The Israeli government did not say where the refugees should go. Rights groups including Hotline for Refugees and Migrants said Uganda and Rwanda agreed to take in migrants from Israel in the past.
“Rwanda has no deal whatsoever with Israel to host any African migrant from that country,” Rwanda Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Olivier Nduhungirehe, tweeted.

His Ugandan counterpart, Okello Oryem, echoed the message.
“There is no written agreement or any form of agreement between the government of Uganda and Israeli government to accept refugees from Israel,” Oryem told Reuters.

Any suggestion to the contrary was “fake news … absolute rubbish,” he added.

The vast majority of migrants in Israel are from Eritrea and Sudan and many fled war and persecution as well as economic hardship, but Israel treats them as economic migrants.

Rights groups accuse Israel of being slow to process African migrants’ asylum requests as a matter of policy and denying legitimate claims to the status.