Israel talks to Rwanda on deporting African asylum seekers: Rwandan President

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The Israeli government approached Rwanda on the issue of pending deportation of Eritrean and Sudanese asylum seekers to the country, Rwandan President Paul Kagame said Thursday.

Kagame was responding to media reports that indicated the Israeli Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein on Wednesday approved the deportation of Eritrean and Sudanese asylum seekers to Rwanda and Uganda.

Speaking at a news conference in Kigali, Kagame acknowledged that Rwanda had been approached on the matter though he could not speak for the other destination country.

"We have been approached, and some of our people have been handling it, especially immigration department," he said.

"I know there has been this discussion and it has been a debate in Israel."

It is these Africans who have migrated to Israel, as they did to many other European countries, some of them illegally, others in different status, he said.

Israel wanted to return the asylum seekers back to the countries they came from, but some of them are saying "if you took us back to the countries we came from, there is a danger" given how they left, Kagame said.

Hagai Hadas, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's special envoy on refugee issues, believed that the asylum seekers' lives are not in danger in Rwanda and Uganda, media reports said.

About 47,000 refugees and asylum seekers were in Israel as of October 2014, of which 92 percent are from Eritrea or Sudan, according to Aid Organization for Refugees, an Israeli nongovernmental organization dedicated to the advocacy and protection of refugees and asylum seekers in the country.

Eritrea and Sudan have witnessed violent conflicts and environmental changes, specifically desertification, which resulted in violence and famine, driving many citizens to flee the countries.

In November 2014, the United Nations of High Commissioner for Refugees spokesperson Adrian Edwards said during the first 10 months of 2014, the number of asylum seekers in Europe from Eritrea had nearly tripled.

Last year, approximately 37,000 Eritreans sought refuge in Europe, up from about 13,000 in 2013. Endi

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