Archive for Thursday, September 6, 2007

Some Darfur refugees allowed citizenship

September 6, 2007

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— Israel will grant citizenship to some of the hundreds of Muslim refugees from Sudan's violence-ridden Darfur region who have already arrived, Interior Minister Meir Sheetrit said Wednesday.

Sheetrit said he would work with the United Nations to set a quota of refugees who would be naturalized. While he estimated 300 Darfur refugees have come, other government officials and refugee advocates put the number at between 400 and 500.

The arrival of the Darfurians has touched off hot debate over whether the Jewish state, founded after the Nazi genocide, has a duty to take in people fleeing persecution. Fighting between pro-government militias and rebels in the western Sudanese region of Darfur has killed more than 200,000 people and displaced 2.5 million since 2003.

Human rights groups and high-profile figures such as Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel have urged the Israeli government to give Darfurians a home.

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