UN refugee official slams Israel over Eritrean repatriation

[haaretz / 25.02.2013] The UN High Commissioner for Refugees' representative here slammed Israel's so-called voluntary return of Eritreans to their life-threatening home country, saying there was nothing voluntary about it. Last week Haaretz published testimonies by jailed Eritreans saying they were coerced by threats of three years imprisonment into signing documents agreeing to be sent home.
According to the testimonies, immigration officials from the Interior Ministry give jailed Eritreans two choices: Spend at least three years in prison or sign a voluntary return form, according to which they supposedly are interested in going back to their country.

Israel, despite being a signatory to the UN Convention on the Status of Refugees, does not recognize Eritreans as refugees, and therefore does not award them rights guaranteed according to the convention.

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