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15.10.2004 Diaspora News

Israel to deport "Parentless" Ghanaian teenagers

By haaretz
Israel to deport

Israel is to deport two Ghanaian girls this morning, aged 15 and 17, even though no relatives in Ghana have been located. The younger girl came to Israel in 2002 with her mother, who left and went to Canada. The older girl arrived two years ago with her father, who later died of cancer. Both were arrested three days ago and are being held in custody.

The Justice Ministry counsel, Sharon Bavli-Larry, noted at the hearing that the older girl was arrested three months ago, but was released into the custody of a Ghana embassy employee. He promised to obtain a passport for her, locate her family, and repatriate her, but did not do so. The other girl had promised to leave Israel of her own volition, but had also failed to keep her word.

Attorney Uri Sadeh of the Kav La'Oved hotline for migrant workers applied for the girls' release, arguing that it is better to place the minors with a guardian who will arrange to send them back to Ghana once their relatives are found. Bavli-Larry yesterday rejected this stating that plane tickets had been purchased and that she is not authorized to release them.

"Even if I were authorized, I wouldn't order their release," she wrote, explaining that it is pointless to leave them in Israel as illegal residents since there is no way of guaranteeing they would ever leave. "It is in the minors' best interest to return to their country, into the care of the social services there, where it will be easier to locate their relatives."

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