As one of numerous attempts to stop their deportation from Israel, African migrants are protesting in front of embassies with their faces painted white.
The government of Israel had proposed giving each migrantÂ $3,500 to leave, with the option of going home or to a third country. If they donât leave by end of March, migrants face indefinite incarceration. Immigration officials are alsoÂ hiring civilian inspectorsÂ to help investigate and arrest the migrants.
However Israelâs plan which got worldwide criticism from human rights advocates both in and outside the country, calling on prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu not to deport the asylum seekers, saying the nation has âno refugee problemâ, didnât make the Jewish nation renege on the plan.
Reporting the incident, two refugee rights groups, the Hotline for Refugees and Migrants and Aid Organization for Refugees and Asylums seekers in Israel (ASSAF), disclosed that the authorities handed the asylum seekers âdeportation noticesâ, and imprisoned them at the Saharonim prison in the south of Israel.
To protest the deportation, inmates at the Holot prison in the Negev desert firstÂ embarked on a hunger strike.
AfricanÂ migrants also went out into the streets, protesting in front of embassies like that of Rwanda, and hoping to pressure officials to end their expulsion. Some of those demonstrating also painted their faces white, suggesting they were being sent into danger because Israel didnât believe their black lives mattered.
In recent months, Prime Minister Bejamin Netanyahu has spoken about how Israel is struggling to cope with what he calls a migrant crisis.
Presently, the United Nations estimates that there are nearly 40,000 African migrants in Israel, the bulk of them being Eritreans and Sudanese.
Most of the refugees have fled adverse conditions in their home countries which, like Sudan, have been ravaged by war, economic hardship and in the Eritrean case, corruption.
Rwanda, where many of the migrants are being reportedly sent, recently said that it was âwrong and offensiveâ that asylum seekers were being given the option of going to Rwanda or to jail. Research has shown that those previously deported to Rwanda and Uganda continue to face danger and death, evenÂ risking their livesÂ by taking perilous onward journeys to Europe.
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