Sure enough the UN High Commissioner for Refugees blasted Israel for its “warehousing” of Africans claiming to be asylum seekers (see our story yesterday). Israel has long maintained that most of the migrants are “economic migrants” and not legitimate refugees. Economic migrants are NOT refugees, but the world-over they have figured out how to use the refugee lingo.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees has criticized Israel’s policy on African migrants, and in particular the new amendments to the country’s anti-infiltration law.
Following Sunday’s mass protest of tens of thousands of migrants and their supporters in Tel Aviv, the representative for UNHCR in Israel published a rare press release, calling on Israel to consider alternatives to its current “warehousing” of migrants.
The release was titled “Israel’s new laws and policies do not live up to the Spirit of the 1951 Refugee Convention.”
UNHCR has previously criticized the amendments to the anti-infiltration law, and even brought its position before the High Court of Justice, but, until now, has refrained from making public statements. In the press release published Sunday, the agency said that in principle it supports establishing a residence facility for asylum seekers, but not in its current incarnation at Holot.
Meanwhile I searched around to see if the UNHCR was also blasting one of the newest members of the UN Human Rights Council, Saudi Arabia, for deporting (not just warehousing but actually deporting!) thousands of Somalis on a regular basis. I see in 2010 the UN did call out S.A., but am not seeing anything since and obviously the Saudis didn’t listen to the UNHCR nearly 4 years ago.
Photo is from this story about Africans protesting at US embassy in Tel Aviv. Wouldn’t those get-ups just make the average Israeli say, sure you will fit right in here! Maybe such protests would work its magic on the Saudis too!