First Eritrean asylum seekers jailed under Israel’s deportation plan

African asylum seekers protest in Tel Aviv, Israel
African asylum seekers protest in Tel Aviv, Israel, on January 7, 2014. Israeli authorities have jailed 16 Eritrean asylum seekers after they refused to be deported to Rwanda.

The Israeli authorities have jailed 16 Eritrean asylum seekers after they refused to be deported to Rwanda.

These are the first asylum seekers to be indefinitely detained under Israel’s mass deportation plan of Eritrean and Sudanese nationals to Rwanda and Uganda.

Some 600 asylum seekers have been handed deportation notices so far, with some 35,000 asylum seekers at risk of being affected, reports the Israeli refugee rights organisation the Hotline for Refugees and Migrants.

The asylum seekers were picked up from the Holot detention centre, where some people have started a hunger strike.

The Israeli government issued a notice to thousands of African migrants in January to leave the country or face imprisonment.

The government promised the migrants up to $3,500 for leaving within 90 days.

Earlier this month, the Israeli government decided they would give asylum specifically to Eritreans who deserted the army.