President Paul Kagame confirms Rwanda-Israel deal to host African immigrants
Rwandan President Paul Kagame has confirmed media reports that Kigali is finalising a multimillion dollar deal that will see it host illegal immigrants that Israel intends to expel.
According to Israeli media reports, the Middle Eastern country plans to relocate illegal immigrants to Rwanda and Uganda, which Kigali had denied knowledge of.
The agreement, which has come under scrutiny by human rights organisations, will see Israel deport hundreds of Eritrean and Sudanese asylum-seekers to both Rwanda and Uganda in return for favourable deals that include millions of dollars in grants.
Israel’s Interior ministry confirmed this week in a statement that it will "expel immigrants from the detention centres" and encourage migrants "to leave Israel in a safe and respectable way" to targeted African countries that would grant them legal immigration rights.
Addressing a press conference in Kigali on Thursday, President Kagame said that there is an ongoing discussion between Rwanda and Israel, even though he does not have details regarding the progress.
“On Rwanda and Israel, yes, I know there has been this discussion and it has been a debate in Israel about these Africans who have migrated to Israel as they do to other European countries. Some of them are either there illegally or with different status,” he said.
President Kagame said that Israel planned to return the immigrants to their countries of origin but some refused citing danger to their lives. He added that the Tel Aviv government suggested to them different countries including Rwanda where they would be relocated to.
“I do not know the details this far, what more or less that has happened to the issue,” the president said adding that he has learnt that “there is some package they (Israel) give them to leave, so we have been approached.”
Mr Kagame said the Rwandan immigration is handling the issue.
Efforts to reach the Immigration director-general Mr Anaclet Kalibata or the institution’s spokesperson Ange Sebutege were futile.
According to reports, Israel is set to deport Eritrean and Sudanese asylum-seekers estimated to be over 50,000 to countries in Africa – including Rwanda and Uganda under a new policy which has been greatly criticised by human rights defenders.
Israel has been accused of imposing on the Eritrean and Sudanese migrants into leaving the country with their future in the new countries not guaranteed. In return, the receiving countries are expected to receive huge amounts of unspecified cash.
Last September, a Human Rights Watch report concluded that the Tel Aviv government created "convoluted legal rules" and used the insecure legal status of Eritrean and Sudanese migrants to detain them indefinitely.
Many asylum-seekers are held in southern Israel’s Holot detention facility, in the middle of the Negev desert. The facility is regarded as a de facto open-air prison according to an Eritrean refugee named Hobtom, who spoke to IBTimes UK in 2014.
This article first appeared in Mail & Guardian.
Zuma Blames African Countries, Queries; ‘Why Are Their Citizens Not In Their Countries And Are In South Africa?’
South Africa President Jacob Zuma Monday lashed out at Africa governments who “criticise the South African government but their citizens are in our country”, even he took a firm stance against stance on the wave of xenophobic violence that has gripped the country.
Addressing the public on Freedom Day at the Union Buildings South Lawn, Zuma chastised governments who have criticised the South African government for the violence that has claimed seven lives.
“As much as we have a problem that is alleged to be xenophobic, our sister countries contribute to this. Why are their citizens not in their countries and are in South Africa?” he asked.
This comes in the wake of Nigeria recalling its ambassador to South Africa in protest at the xenophobic violence.
Nigeria has summoned Acting High Commissioner Martin Cobham and Deputy High Commissioner Uche Ajulu-Okeke “for consultations” over the “ongoing xenophobia”, Minister of Foreign Affairs Aminu Wali said in a statement on Saturday.
Zuma said a frank conversation on illegal immigrants needed to take place within the Southern African Development Community (SADC) as well as the African Union.
Zuma mentioned the murder of Mozambican citizen Manuel Jossias—first identified as Emmanuel Sithole—in the Alexandra township.
“He used a false name to avoid detection by authorities as he was an illegal immigrant,” he said.
Zuma paid tribute to the three South Africans who were killed in the attacks in Durban: Ayanda Dlamini, Msawenkosi Dlamini and Thabo Mzobe, who was 14 years old.
He said South Africans were angry, adding; “We need to be cured, we are sick”.
“The latest outbreak of violence necessitates more comprehensive action from all of us to ensure that there is no recurrence. We have to address the underlying causes of the violence and tensions, which is the legacy of poverty, unemployment and inequality in our country and our continent and the competition for limited resources,” Zuma said.
South Africans need psychological cure
He also spoke at length of how violent South African communities are, adding that “we need a psychological cure”.
“Apartheid was a violent system and it produced violent countermeasures to it. So people still believe that to fight authority you must fight government ... even now, when it is your own government. We need to be helped as a society,” he said.
“They get excited. They burn the tyres; they block the roads; they destroy property; exercising their rights but interfering with the rights of many.”
Zuma then lashed out at the Economic Freedom Fighters and their trademark militancy in Parliament.
“Look at the institution that is said to be the apex of democracy, Parliament. Look at the politicians whom you have voted for, how angry they are. How defiant they are, even in Parliament,” he said to thunderous applause.
Zuma said Parliament and the office of the Speaker should be respected.
He was taking exception to the behaviour of EFF Members of Parliament who often disobey the orders of the Speaker in the national assembly.
“If the Speaker says ‘Out of my house’, you must get out. But what do some of the members of Parliament do when the Speaker says ‘Sit down’, they say ‘Speaker, I want to address you’. They will continue addressing the speaker. If the speaker says ‘Withdraw’ they say ‘I won’t withdraw’. If the speaker says ‘Out’ they say ‘I won’t go out’,” Zuma told the crowd.
He said this was a glaring example of what he called the “violent culture of apartheid”.
“Imagine if politicians are so angry then who will rule the country.”