4 April 2018

Africa: Rep. Bass Statement On Israeli Agreement with the U.N. Refugee Agency Regarding Immigrant Relocation

Photo: Mya Guarnier/IRIN
African asylum seekers sleep in a Tel Aviv park in 2012.
press release

Washington — April 2, 2018 -  Today, Rep. Karen Bass (D-Calif.) issued the following statement regarding the new agreement with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees to relocate thousands of African migrants.

"I am very relieved and excited by the announcement that Israel reached an agreement with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees to facilitate the resettling of African migrants. The plan would resettle asylum seekers to Western countries and within Israel rather than simply deporting those who sought refuge because of serious insecurity in their own countries.

"This arrangement is certainly a positive development for the thousands of migrants whose lives were at stake. Had the earlier policy of deportation been implemented, which involved sending migrants to third-party African countries or forced detainment within Israel, African asylum seekers would have been at greater risk of kidnapping, torture, and sexual violence.

"This plan came in the wake of protests by tens of thousands of Israeli citizens, prominent Jewish leaders, including hundreds of academics, authors, artists rabbis and international outcry that noted that mass deportation does not align with Jewish values and teachings.  I urge Prime Minster Netanyahu to continue with the plan made in partnership with UNHCR."

First elected to Congress in 2010, Rep. Bass is serving her fourth term in Congress where she is Ranking Member on the House Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations Subcommittee.  Rep. Bass' Congressional District includes Los Angeles and Culver City and was the 67th Speaker of the California Assembly from 2008-2010.

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