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Online campaign asks pilots to refuse flights taking migrants out of Israel

African illegal migrants carry their belongings following their release from the Holot Detention Centre in Israel's Negev desert, on August 25, 2015.
AFP/Menachem Kahana)
The Israeli government last month announced it will begin deporting asylum seekers from the country

Activists called for Israeli pilots to not participate in flights which extradite asylum seekers, in an online campaign responding to Israel's decision to deport tens of thousands of migrants from Sudan and Eritrea to Rwanda in March.

In a statement posted online by the NGO Zizim Community Action asks the public to send letters to the Israel Aviation Association and the Israel Pilots Association requesting that pilots refuse to man flights slated to take migrants back to their places of origin.

 NGO’s CEO, Raluca Gena said she hopes the online campaign will start a wide-reaching movement which will pressure he powers at be to change course.

“Throughout the world, citizens are fighting cruel expulsion decrees and stand alongside refugees and asylum-seekers,” Gena said in a statement on Thursday.

“This is a test for the Israeli public to determine the fate of tens of thousands of people. In recent months, pilots in Germany and the UK have managed to stop more than 200 deportations, and we call on Israeli pilots to follow their European counterparts and stand on the right side of history,” Gena said.

The Israeli government announced last month that it will begin deporting African asylum seekers from the country.

The decision gaves migrants and asylum seekers a three-month deadline to leave the country or face deportation. The deportation applies only to African migrants from Eritrea and Sudan who entered Israel illegally and who have had asylum applications rejected by the government.

It does not apply to migrants from Darfur, a tacit acknowledgement of the dangers there. It also does not apply to those migrants whose asylum applications are underway or processing.


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