Milan, March 11th, 2011. According to witness accounts taken by the Physicians for Human Rights in Jaffa from a young Eritrean refugee, the Israeli defence forces have pushed back at the Egypt border a group of 67 migrants from sub-Saharan Africa. The migrants, according to the boy’s statement, had just been released by traffickers in northern Sinai, after the payment of a ransom by their families. The refugees, in captivity, would have suffered ill-treatment, torture and abuse. The refoulement of refugees and asylum seekers is a serious violation of the 1951 Geneva Convention, a treaty which was also signed by Israel. What makes these actions even more hateful, is that Israeli military authorities have ordered the young soldiers to commit such a crime, when many of their own grandparents in the past experienced captivity and the horrors of the Holocaust.
A condition very similar to that suffered by the African migrants who had fled persecution in their own countries and then fallen victim to terrible abuses in the modern concentration camps run by traffickers in northern Sinai. That is why EveryOne Group, an international organization for human rights, is calling on the government and military leaders of Israel to open an inquiry into the dynamics and responsibilities of this refusal to grant protection, and to strive with all diplomatic means to ensure that the 67 African refugees rejected in Egypt are identified and taken back to Israel, where they have the right to apply for political asylum. At the same time, Everyone Group is asking the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and the Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe to stigmatize the pushing back of refugees on the Israeli border and to ensure all procedures are implemented to provide international protection to the 67 African migrants who were unfairly rejected.