Israel As Safe Haven For Refugees? Not Even Close.

Sudanese refugee in Israel

A South Sudanese girl awaits deportation to South Sudan from Israel on June 17, 2012. (Oren Ziv/AFP/GettyImages)

Earlier this month, an Israeli court paved the way for Israeli authorities to deport over 1,500 South Sudanese migrants back to South Sudan, where they face an uncertain future, and may face threats to physical security depending where they end up.

One might get the sense that Sudanese are unwelcome in Israel.

“The Sudanese are a cancer in our body,” said Miri Regev, member of the Knesset during a public demonstration in Tel Aviv, which saw African passersby attacked.

Today is World Refugee Day—a day marked to remind the world of the tens of millions who face uncertainty, threats to physical security, and persecution by repressive governments.

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European governments forcibly return asylum seekers to Iraq

Today 60 Iraqis were forcibly removed from the United Kingdom, Sweden, Norway and the Netherlands. They had applied for asylum and were denied. Ten Iraqis who were in the UK, 28 in Sweden and the rest of the Iraqis were flown today to Baghdad, and more are scheduled to be returned to Iraq next Wednesday.

The United Nations refugee agency UNHCR said that the Iraqis who are forcibly returned to Iraq are at grave risk, but Matthew Coats, head of immigration at the UK Border Agency, said “We are determined to remove those with no right to be in the UK,” according to BBC News.

About 2.7 million Iraqis are internally displaced, 1.5 are refugees in neighboring countries, and more are scattered in Europe and other parts of the world where they face being forcibly returned to Iraq.

The human rights situation in Iraq remains precarious, with suicide bombings, kidnappings, violence by militias and other armed forces taking place in most parts of Iraq every month.

Please join Amnesty International in calling on the British, Swedish, Norwegian and Netherlands governments to stop the forcible return of Iraqis.

Forced to Leave Home

Bloggers Unite

Every day across the world people make the difficult decision to leave their homes. War, persecution, environmental disaster and poverty are just some of the reasons why a person might feel that they have to leave their family, community or country.

Refugees leave their country because they have no other choice and fear for their own life or safety or that of their family. Refugees also flee their country when their government will not or cannot protect them from serious human rights abuses.

Right now, as you read this, millions of people around the world have fled and are waiting to begin their lives again. Tens of thousands of Zimbabwean refugees in South Africa wonder if today is the day their food rations will run out. Hundreds of thousands of Burmese refugees in Thailand worry that today is the day they will succumb to illness without medical attention. A quarter of a million Colombian refugees in Ecuador fear that today is the day they will be sent back to face the violence in their home country.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the main agency mandated to provide protection and humanitarian services to those fleeing persecution, estimates there are almost 10 million refugees around the world. They have fled political and religious persecution, been caught up in ethnic conflict, and subjected to violence because of their sexual orientation. There are many reasons that people become refugees, but only a few ways to obtain the protection they so desperately need. International agencies and local organizations do their best to assist everyone, but caring for the world’s most vulnerable is a daunting task.

Amnesty International USA advocates for the rights of asylum-seekers in the United States, and for the humane and dignified treatment of refugees and migrants worldwide. As violations of human rights continue and the number of fleeing people rises, we must all raise our voices to protect the persecuted.