Photo caption: A Sudanese woman is arrested with her children, after being issued with South Sudanese papers. (Credit: RonG LevyZ)
Sudanese asylum seekers in Israel are being issued with documents changing their nationality, allowing them to be removed from the country or imprisoned.
The Bureau has identified migrants who have recently been issued with documents labelling them as South Sudanese – despite holding passports showing they were born in areas that remain in Sudan.
Four migrants from the Republic of Sudan have already been flown from Israel to South Sudan, an entirely different country that was formed last year. The South Sudanese authorities refused to accept them at the border and they were sent back to Tel Aviv.
NGOs estimate that over 100 other Sudanese asylum seekers in Israel may have been issued with the wrong nationality in the past three months, and fear there may be more attempts to remove them to South Sudan.
South Sudan only came into existence in June 2011 after a 21-year civil war. Intense hostilities remain between the newly formed country and the Republic of Sudan, with conflicts regularly breaking out on the border.
Israel is unable to deport people to Sudan as it has no repatriation agreement with Khartoum. But a recent deportation order allows it to deport migrants to the country’s newest neighbour: South Sudan.
But now NGOs based in Israel report that people from the Nuba mountain region of Sudan are being issued with temporary visas stating they are South Sudanese by the Ministry of Interior – which make them eligible for deportation. South Sudanese asylum seekers have been asked to leave Israel voluntarily, but those who do not face imprisonment.
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