GENEVA: The United Nations on Tuesday called on Israel to halt its policy of deporting over 33,000 Eritreans and Sudanese people.
"The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is again appealing to Israel to halt its policy of relocating Eritreans and Sudanese to sub-Saharan Africa," William Spindler, the agency’s spokesman, said in a news conference on Tuesday in Geneva, as reported by Anadolu news agency.
This comes after 80 cases were identified last year, in which the refugees risked their lives by taking dangerous journeys to Europe via Libya and Egypt.
On January 1, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had ordered thousands of African refugees to leave the country by April or face imprisonment.
Many world activists have expressed their outrage over the decision.
“We have had a history of being migrants, and we find this treatment of African migrants disturbing and racist”, said Jessica Sherman, the spokesperson for Jewish Voices for a Just Peace (JVJP).
"Since Israel took over refugee status determination from UNHCR in 2009, only ten Eritreans and one Sudanese have been recognized as refugees. Israel has not received any Eritreans or Sudanese since May 2016," the UNHCR’s spokesman said.
According to a UN estimate, there are some 27,000 Eritreans and 7,700 Sudanese people residing in Israel.