According to Amnesty International and the Israeli Hotline for Migrant Workers, the process was put into effect in recent days among Eritrean asylum seekers currently held at the Saharonim detention center.
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The procedure is meant to find out whether someone held in custody is interested in returning to his country of origin. Among other counts, protocol stipulates that migrants be interviewed before deportation and their cases be reviewed by the immigration administration and the court.
Saharonim detention center. Archive (Photo: Haim Hornstein)
A senior official familiar with the issue told Ynet that "dozens of asylum seekers who signed the forms will return to their countries of origin over the next few weeks. The goal is that all hundreds of detainees sign and leave the country."
According to the Administration of Border Crossings, Population and Immigration, "a group of Eritreans who asked to see the ambassador were taken out. In order to make it easier for them and the ambassador it was decided that they be taken to him. Beyond that, everything is speculation."
A representative of a human rights groups said that "signing 'willful deportation' while staying in prison and being threatened to be detained indefinitely cannot possibly be an exercise of free will," adding that "asylum seekers were denied access to processing their request for asylum and they were detained in Israel without trial."
The representative added that Eritreans who will return to their homeland are face great danger.
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