Target: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
Goal: Explain secret deportations of Sudanese immigrants from Israel
Recently Israel’s leading daily newspaper Haaretz broke the news that Israel was secretly deporting Sudanese refugees back to Sudan without informing the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. Sudan has openly vowed to punish any of its citizens who set foot in Israel; forcefully returning Sudanese immigrants to Sudan involves a legitimate threat to the immigrants’ lives.
African immigrants to Israel have long withstood similar grievances. Israel’s decision to deport more than a thousand defenseless human beings back to the country they escaped from fits into a pattern of similar treatment. In Israel, illegal immigrants – particularly those of African descent – may be detained for years without trial. In one horrific case of brutality, a group of 21 refugees was left to starve on the border before three were imprisoned and the rest forced to return to the Sinai, where human traffickers routinely torture and rape whoever falls into their hands.
The Haaretz story led to an outpouring of rage from Israeli human rights activists and politicians who decried the immorality of the deportations and demanded an explanation from their government. As of yet, there has been no official response to these demands. The government’s previous response to the allegations was to insist that the deportations had been “voluntary.” However, aid groups refute the claim, stating that Sudanese immigrants were forced to leave under threat of lifelong imprisonment.
The United Nations High Commission for Refugees has maintained since 2008 that “Deporting Sudanese to Sudan would be the gravest violation possible of the refugee convention that Israel has signed – a crime never before committed.” Israel has crossed a line. The repatriation of innocent human beings to a country where their lives will be in mortal danger is disturbing. Israel’s treatment of refugees can no longer continue and the government should not be allowed to remain silent. Sign the petition below to demand an explanation for the secret deportation of Sudanese immigrants by the Israeli government.
Dear Benjamin Netanyahu,
Recently it came to light that the Israeli government had allegedly deported over a thousand Sudanese refugees back to Sudan. These refugees left their home country in fear for their lives, and hoped to find a safe haven in Israel. The government, however, appears to have turned around and forced the refugees back into situations where their lives are in mortal danger.
When these disturbing allegations were first brought up, the Israeli government had the audacity to suggest that the repatriations were voluntary. Aid groups have, since then, refuted such claims by stating that the Sudanese immigrants were forced to leave Israel under the threat of lifetime detention without trial.
The forced removal of Sudanese immigrants from Israel is a terrible violation of international law. It is time for the Israeli government to speak for its actions. Silence is no longer acceptable. I am writing today to demand that you give an explanation for these secret deportations.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: kudumomo @ Flickr.