Sunday, November 18, 2007

Sudanese Refugees in Israel

Israel is becoming an increasingly popular destination for refugees from southern Sudan and the western region of Darfur.

Greater economic prospects in Israel are encouraging Sudanese refugees to cross from Egypt into Israel evading border patrols on the way.

Al-Ahram Weekly reports
Excessively harsh socio-economic conditions and racist attitudes in Egypt seem to be the main reason why Sudanese refugees want to relocate to Israel. Of the Sudanese refugees now resident in Israel 71 per cent report verbal and physical abuse as the main reason for their fleeing Egypt. Some 86 per cent had refugee status with the UNHCR in Egypt, though those crossing the border spent an average of six months in detention upon arrival in Israel. Others are subject to indefinite detention.
There's another section that suggests southern Sudanese are "culturally more attuned to Israeli culture, and Israelis warm up to them", whereas Darfurians are not so liked.

Israel, as is the wont of richer nations, is suggesting that Sudan's neighbours should take more refugees. Al Ahram says
There are an estimated 400,000 Sudanese refugees in Kenya, 400,000 in Chad and 100,000 in Egypt. Yet on the UN human development index, Israel stands at 23, Egypt at 111 and Kenya at 152. Chad is among the world's poorest and least developed nations and Sudan is not far behind.
Via Lisa Goldman's informative site I found this beautiful and emotive set of photos about Sudanese refugees in Israel. Go look.

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