From the young activists in Israel with Amnesty International, an urgent appeal to Diaspora Jews who remember the times when we were refugees:
STOP THE DEPORTATION OF 25 ERITREAN ASLYUM SEEKERS FROM ISRAEL TO ERITREA OR UGANDA
“Your Only Way Out of the Israeli Prison is to Uganda or Eritrea” — Immigration Authorities to Eritrean Asylum Seekers detained in Saharonim Prison
25 Eritrean asylum seekers are in imminent danger of being deported back to Eritrea from Saharonim detention center in Israel. Israeli authorities in the facility told the asylum seekers that the only way they would ever get of the Israeli prison would be to go to Eritrea or Uganda. These individuals are currently being held under the Anti-Infiltration Law which mandates their automatic detention for a minimum of three years without trial.
Being released as an asylum seeker or refugee is impossible as prisoners lack access to the forms the Ministry of Interior requires to begin the RSD process. Therefore, after months of detention, many individuals have signed forms saying they want to go to Uganda and a very few have signed saying they want to go to Eritrea.
News reaching human rights groups over the last few days make it seem that even individuals who had signed to go to Uganda are now in the process of being deported to Eritrea. We are unsure exactly when/if the deportations will take place, but we do fear that it could happen over the next week.
Amnesty International is very concerned for the fate of Eritrean asylum seekers who are returned to Eritrea. The Eritrean government considers any request for asylum in other countries to be an act of treason. Eritreans who are forcibly returned to Eritrea face a real risk of being subjected to violations, including incommunicado detention, torture and other forms of serious ill treatment. In addition, detention conditions in Eritrea are appalling, and in themselves amount to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment. Returning asylum seekers to Eritrea is a clear violation of the principle of non-refoulement and the 1951 Refugee Convention.
Please Email your local Israeli embassy or consulate.
You can find a list of their offices here: embassy.goabroad.com/embassies-of/israel
ATTENTION: Amnon Ben-Ami, Head of Israeli Immigration Authority
Dear Mr Ben-Ami,
I am writing to express my grave concern over the potential deportation of Eritrean asylum seekers from detention to Eritrea or Uganda. I have become aware that many Israeli human rights groups have been contacted by several asylum seekers on this issue.
I am very concerned for the fate of Eritrean asylum seekers returned to Eritrea. Seeking asylum abroad is considered by the Eritrean government to be an act of treason. Eritreans forcibly returned to Eritrea face a real risk of being subjected to violations, including incommunicado detention, torture and other forms of serious ill-treatment. In addition, detention conditions in Eritrea are appalling, and in themselves amount to cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment. Returns of asylum seekers to Eritrea is a clear violation of the principle of non-refoulement and the 1951 Refugee Convention.
As a member of the international community living in Israel I urge you to respect the principle of non-refoulement and cancel any plans of deportation of Eritrean asylum seekers back to Eritrea. These Eritreans should be given access to fair and transparent refugee status determination proceedings in accordance with international standards.
(Your name here)
Call your local consulate or the Embassy in DC and tell them that you are very concerned about this.