Discussion: The Population, Immigration and Borders Authority (PIBA) hid from the court the existence of internal reviews regarding African asylum seekers. 23 January 2017
On 23 January the State Control Committee convened to discuss an internal review conducted by the Population, Immigration and Borders Authority from 2014 that had been leaked to the media by Amnesty Israel. According to the document automatic refugee status should be given to all migrants who came from Darfur in Sudan. The IIPC presented to members of the committee the most recent study on the issue, according to which there is no justification to adopt a position based on out-of-date information.
From the meeting’s protocol:
Jonathan Jacubowicz, head of public policy at the IIPC:
“We at the Israel Immigration Policy Center support the granting of humanitarian status to people who are indeed refugees of genocide or who are political activists. Even if we agree that all the people who came from Darfur or from the three war zones are refugees, even though we know there may also be war criminals among them, there is no dispute that two thirds of the 15,000 Sudanese who came to Israel did not come from Darfur, are not refugees and there is no problem sending them back. The catch is that Sudan is an enemy state to Israel. Human rights groups have told us, ‘let them in first and examine the requests later’, when you want to examine the request they go to court and say ‘hold on a minute, even if this person is not a refugee, from the moment he entered the State of Israel, we must absorb him.”
We need to discuss the very specific issue with Israel, the fact that there are people who claim that from the moment they set foot in Israel they cannot return to their home countries. If we adopt a position that gives refugee status to any Darfurian who is not Arab, how would this affect the people waiting to come to Israel? We should think of these things when we develop a policy. The most recent position, from December 2016 by the British and Danish foreign ministers, is that there is no problem in returning Sudanese citizens to Khartoum unless they are regime opponents.