Opposition politicians and rights activists in Malawi have criticised the government’s plan to send 221 young Malawians to work on farms in Israel as the crisis with Gaza rages.
The move on Saturday comes after Israel provided an aid package of $60m (£47m) two weeks ago to help Malawi’s economic recovery.
Critics have expressed concerns over the secrecy with which it was done as well as the potential risks to citizens over the war the war between Israel and Hamas.
“Sending people to a war-torn country like Israel, where some countries are withdrawing their labour is something unheard of,” Malawian opposition leader Kondwani Nankhumwa told BBC.
He also questioned why the government of President Lazarus Chakwera had kept the deal secret, only informing parliament on 22 November about a plan to send workers to an unnamed country.
The government has defended the deal, saying that it will export Malawians to Israel and other countries to “fulfil this administration’s commitment to job creation and youth empowerment”.
The government also assured of the safety and security of the Malawians, saying that they will work in locations which are “classified as fit and safe” and will be provided with medical insurance and repatriation protections.