Uganda is currently in talks with the State of Israel in order to allow 500 Eritreans and Sudanese Refugees to relocate to Uganda, State Minister for Relief and Disaster Preparedness Musa Ecweru revealed on Friday.
In a Friday statement, Ecweru said that the refugees, before relocation, “shall have to undergo a rigorous vetting process to ascertain their suitability for grant of asylum in the country.”
The announcement comes against a backdrop of reports that Uganda had signed a deal with Israel to permit refugees that had sought asylum to the latter to be transferred to Uganda.
In return, according to reports, Uganda was going to get monetary and military support from Israel.
Government later dismissed the reports, saying that there was no such agreement.
But, now, Minister Ecwelu says “the Government and Ministry are positively considering the request” to relocate the said number of refugees.
The deal is, however, not because of the previously reported gains, at least, as per the minister’s statement.
There are approximately 38,000 Africans in Israel who consider themselves asylum seekers, according to Israel’s Interior Ministry.
They arrived between 2006 and 2012, and the vast majority are Sudanese or Eritrean. Many live in South Tel Aviv, and residents have blamed asylum seekers for rising crime rates, lobbying the government for deportation.
Last when the country proclaimed that refugees should leave the country in three months or face imprisonment because they were mostly economic migrants whose numbers threatened its Jewish character.
An economic migrant is someone who emigrates from one region to another to seek an improvement in living standards because the living conditions or job opportunities in the migrant’s own region are not sufficient.
And, according to Minister Ecwelu, Uganda, has over the years hosted several refugees fleeing their country of origin on account of persecution over any of the five conventional grounds namely; religion, race, sex, political opinion and membership of a particular social group.
Globally, there are three accepted means through which refugees seek asylum.
In the case of Uganda and Israel, the two states are considering resettling the Eritrean and Sudanese refugees to Uganda.
Resettlement is the selection and transfer of individuals from a state in which they have sought protection to a third state that been consulted and agreed to admit them as refugees, according to Ecweru.
Another offer given to refugees is voluntary and dignified repatriation, where after deciding to return home, the host country liaises with the Country of Origin and the international community, especially the UN bodies that manage Refugees to have the refugee back home.
The last option is for those who are unable to return home and the host nation decides to integrate them within its community.
This is mainly for those who have stayed long in the Country, says Ecweru.
Since 2013, Israel has deported approximately 4,000 migrants with their ostensible agreement to third countries widely reported to be Uganda and Rwanda, according to the United Nations High Commission on Refugees.