Isreal's interior minister announced that tens of thousands of African asylum seekers had voluntarily left for Sweden. Though he did not specify the number of those who had left for Sweden, most of them were women, victims of human trafficking and who had been imprisoned in Isreal for a long time.
There is also criticism that migrants did not leave as part of the Government’s voluntary departure process, but with the efforts of the UN Refugee Agency to relocate who are eligible as refugees.
According to the government sources, almost 2,612 migrants left Israel in 2013, as part of the voluntary departure process.
Of these, 1,995 were from Eritrea, Sudan
According to critics, Israel is not satisfying its obligations under the Refugee Convention. As a result, tens of thousands of African migrants protested against Israel’s migration policies. Migrants called on the international communities to put pressure on the Israeli government to recognize them as refugees and change its refugee policies. Besides, the protesters demanded the government to stop arresting migrants from Africa and to release who are imprisoned.
Despite these events, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is still committed to expelling the migrants. During a press-meet he made clear that such protests and strikes won’t help.
Many migrants fled due to misery and hardship at home hoping for a better life in Israel. Millions of Africans have trekked to Israel through neighboring countries in the recent years. And their inflow raised apprehension among locals and blamed migrants for rising crime and change of Jewish identity.
Sweden agreed to take upon Eritrean asylum seekers as there is a special request from the UNHCR (UN Refugee Agency) and include them in the special resettlement plan.
As there is an incentive scheme from the government to migrants and were granted $3,500 who left for Sweden. Asylum seekers are encouraged to leave Israel voluntarily and promised to ministry that they will not return.