KIGALI, Jan. 24 — The Rwandan government has denied signing any secret deal with Israel regarding the relocation of African migrants.
The Israeli authorities earlier this month gave the African asylum seekers who fled war and persecution a 90-day ultimatum to leave “to their country or to a third country,” or face jail sentences, without stating the third countries.
Israel’s Population and Immigration Authority said those who leave the country before April will receive 3,500 U.S. dollars, airfare and other incentives for relocation. According to reports, African migrants are given the option of going back to their respective countries, or being deported to Uganda or Rwanda. A Rwandan government spoeksperson said in a statement that the reports were “rumors.” The country, which suffered genocide in 1994, also reiterated its “firm determination to contribute to the issue of people who find themselves on the treacherous road of exile.”
Rwanda had experienced ethnic conflicts that left many of its people displaced and fleeing to neighboring countries. The Rwandese Alliance for National Unity, predecessor of the ruling party Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), was formed in 1979 by Rwandan refugees in exile. In 1994, RPF took power and ended the Rwandan genocide, which claimed over one million lives, mostly ethnic Tutsis.
“Rwanda is ready to help in whatever limited way it could, by welcoming anyone arriving at its borders in need of a home, voluntarily and without any constraint,” the statement said.Rwandan foreign ministry said last November its door was wide open to African migrants in Libya, following media reports that said African migrants were being sold as slaves in Libya. – XINHUA