In Summary
  • About 4,000 migrants have left Israel for Rwanda and Uganda since 2013 under a voluntary programme but Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has come under pressure from his right-wing voter base to expel thousands more.

KAMPALA

Following months of denials, Uganda said Friday it was "positively considering" a proposal from Israel to accept hundreds of Africans the country wishes to deport.

Uganda's junior refugees minister, Musa Ecweru, said Israel had requested that Uganda accept about 500 Eritrean and Sudanese migrants.

"The government (is)... positively considering the request," he said in a statement.

MOTIVE

Ecweru denied any suggestion of a financial motive for taking in the migrants.

Uganda's motivation is "purely humanitarian" and "all refugees world over, are voluntarily repatriated" in "strict observance" of international law, Ecweru said.

In November last year, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced plans to deport some 40,000 African migrants who had entered the country illegally.

Africans began entering Israel through what was then a porous Egyptian border in 2007. The border has since been strengthened, all but ending illegal crossings.

Netanyahu's plan has stirred up a political storm, given that some migrants come from Eritrea or Sudan, where rights experts point to a high risk of abuse or armed conflict.

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