News and views from an Israeli girl
There are an estimated 45,000-60,000 people currently living in Israel illegally. Some of them would be considered refugees by the office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR):
The 1951 Refugee Convention establishing UNHCR spells out that a refugee is someone who "owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality, and is unable to, or owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country."
Many others would not be considered refugees, but instead migrants:
Migrants, especially economic migrants, choose to move in order to improve the future prospects of themselves and their families. Refugees have to move if they are to save their lives or preserve their freedom.
Only refugees have protected status under international law and the preferred outcome for them is to be repatriated. According to the UNHCR Handbook for Repatriation and Reintegration Activities, "The UN General Assembly (GA) has repeatedly affirmed UNHCR’s function of promoting/facilitating the voluntary repatriation of refugees."
So, when Israel undertakes a program to voluntarily repatriate several hundred South Sudanese refugees, there should be no hue and cry, right? Wrong.
Read more at Love of The Land.