Friends of Refugees

A U.S. Refugee Resettlement Program Watchdog Group

Israel begins rounding up South Sudanese refugees

Posted by Christopher Coen on June 13, 2012

After Israel’s top court handed down a landmark court decision last week allowing the government to deport South Sudanese migrants, the government has begun arrests and round ups. The government plans to deport 4,500 South Sudanese migrants despite dire condition in South Sudan. The fact that South Sudan is a natural ally of Israel matters not at all to Israel’s right-wing government. An article at Canada’s CBC News reports about the arrests and round ups:

Africans living illegally in Israel say they face harassment and in some cases fear for their safety, as government authorities move ahead with plans to deport thousands of migrants…

The government plans to deport 4,500 migrants, after a landmark court decision was handed down last week…

Some rights groups have taken issue with the crackdown, accusing the authorities of abdicating their responsibilities.

The situation has definitely deteriorated,” said Segal Rosen, who works for an organization called Hotline for Migrant Workers. “It looks as if the government completely ignored the fact that the majority of these people are genuine refugees.”

Last year, there was one successful applicant among the 4,600 people who sought for refugee status in Israel… Read more here

Israel’s Foreign Ministry is now concerned about the country’s image, rather than the crimes and abuses perpetrated against the refugees. An article at 972mag explains this, and describes how the country’s refugee headhunting unit carries out its work in the course of the mass round-up:

This, reports activist Rotem Ilan (Hebrew), is how the Oz Unit (refugee headhunting unit, dregs of Israeli society so low they couldn’t even get in to the police) sounds in action: “Do you want me to fuck you in the ass? You like it, it shows” (Oz officer to an activist); “The father said he does not love you anymore, and you can fly for all he cares” (Oz officer to a mother and daughter held in custody, asking to say their goodbyes to the child’s father); “If you need to go to the bathroom, just piss in your dress” (Oz officer to a priest in traditional African garb, who actually had a residency permit); “What am I, a bell boy? Do I have to carry your luggage? You don’t want to [carry it], see if I care” (Oz officer during an arrest of a family with three children, yesterday).

Veteran journalist Yael Gvirtz described (Hebrew) some of the deportees: “A girl with hideous burns (whose mother and brother are already detained), [to be deported] to a country with no medical infrastructure… A person seriously ill with diabetes, who knows deportation consigns him to death, because there is no insulin to be gotten there. Just two of the stories, because this night is so difficult as it is. And what would the next picture be? The disaster area (and then the Israeli government will surely send an IDF flying hospital, to show the world how humane we are…)”… Read more here

One Response to “Israel begins rounding up South Sudanese refugees”

  1. cory82 said

    Such a shame. Many of these people were probably studying at Israel’s universities. They would have used their education to help rebuild South Sudan, and they would have had strong positive connections to Israel.

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