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PHOTOS: Thousands of African asylum seekers leave Holot detention center

Thousands of asylum seekers streamed out of Holot detention center in Israel’s south on Friday, with no intention to return. The walk-out is the latest in a series of actions by the prisoners to bring attention to their plight.

Photos: Oren Ziv/Activestills.org, text: Edo Konrad

The asylum seekers attempted to march to the border with Egypt, where they hoped to camp out and bring international attention to their struggle, but were stopped by the Israeli army before reaching the demilitarized area.

According to the Holot Project Facebook group, the marchers have produced a list with the following demands:

- An immediate reform to the medical system.
- The immediate release of detainees who have been in prisons over two years, the victims of torture from Sinai and all the prisoners in Saharonim and Holot with legal status according to international standards.
- To hand over the case to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
- To release African asylum seekers arrested by the immigration police in Holot, who are suspected to be behind the demonstrations.

Thousands of African asylum seekers leave Holot detention center without intention to come, June 25, 2014. (Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Thousands of African asylum seekers leave Holot detention center, June 25, 2014. (Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

 

Thousands of African asylum seekers leave Holot detention center, June 25, 2014. (Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Thousands of African asylum seekers leave Holot detention center, June 25, 2014. (Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

In December 2013 Israel began populating the Holot detention facility for African asylum seekers, first with those who were held in other prisons and gradually with those who were until now living in Tel Aviv and other Israeli cities.

Read +972′s full coverage of asylum seekers in Israel

Thousands of African asylum seekers leave Holot detention center, June 25, 2014. (Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Thousands of African asylum seekers leave Holot detention center, June 25, 2014. (Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

 

Thousands of African asylum seekers leave Holot detention center, June 25, 2014. (Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Thousands of African asylum seekers leave Holot detention center, June 25, 2014. (Yotam Ronen/Activestills.org)

 

An Israeli soldier confronts an African asylum seeker during the march to the border with the Sinai Peninsula. (photo: Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

An Israeli soldier confronts an African asylum seeker during the march to the border with the Sinai Peninsula. (photo: Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

The detainees at Holot are being held there without charge until they can be deported or such a time as their asylum claims are processed, which for many detainees means indefinitely.

Israeli soldiers pull on an African asylum seeker during the march to the border with the Sinai Peninsula. (photo: Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Israeli soldiers pull on an African asylum seeker during a march to the border with the Sinai Peninsula. (photo: Yotam Ronen/Activestills.org)

 

Israeli soldiers hold back an African asylum seeker during the march to the border with Egypt. (photo: Yotam Ronen/Activestills.org)

Israeli soldiers hold back an African asylum seeker during the march to the border with Egypt. (photo: Yotam Ronen/Activestills.org)

Related:
PHOTOS: 24 hours outside Holot ‘open’ detention center
Voices from Israel’s ‘open prison’: Feeling caged in Holot
The origins and politics of Israel’s refugee debate

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  • COMMENTS

    1. DerAsylant

      where the black women at? i thought most refugees would consist of women and children.

      Reply to Comment
      • Sherry Faniyi

        You do not see woman and children due to the fact the men crossed on foot 1000 miles to reach there with little food or water. They went there to find a better life a safe life and then send for their families later.

        Reply to Comment
        • DerAsylant

          so these men left their families in danger to walk 1000 miles east in the epicenter of the middle east conflict instead of traveling south to the humanist liberal paradise of former south africa. doesnt these also means that families are actually safe if they can manage to survive without male food providers and protectors present?

          Reply to Comment
          • Valerie Christine

            Have you ever heard of the Bedouin torture camps in the Sinai? That’s how many people end up at the Israeli boarder. So most of them not voluntarily and not because they are migrants but asylum seekers in need for protection – important difference. Also I’d suggest that not seeing women means that the Israeli government has enough decency not to incarcerate women and children in ‘open’ detention centres. After all, the people stay there indeterminately because of the non-refoulement princile (they can’t be extradited). So no, I think your suggestion to just happily walk to South Africa is not only a bit ridiculous but also very uninformed. And I hope you’re joking when you call SA a ‘liberal paradise’ and when you talk about the ‘Middle East conflict’. That’s a sweeping generalisation and shows how absolutely uninformed you must be.

            Reply to Comment
          • balbalot

            Some women did manage to survive the journey and came to Israel, were deported to South Sudan when the men were jailed, reports that come from there say many of them were killed, some women and children who came to refugee camps in Africa were starved to death, when the UN left the camps. There are also reports of women who agreed to be deported to Uganda and found themselves Khartoum,there they were abducted and tortured by the sudanis gov, some we dont known what happened to them. Israeli simply abandoned women and children, torture and death.
            shouth africa is very far from sudan and there are a lot of refugee there from the nighboring contrys there.

            Reply to Comment
          • DerAsylant

            that would be gender discrimination, because female illegal trespasser has comited same crime as male one.and due to arab spring egypt is a democacy now so the travelers from “african” states should claim their refugee status there. and i never heard “left wing” political activists complaining about bedouins and situation ins South Africa so i have to assume there are no problems at all.The troubles in South Africa ended with apartheid. Also, Bedouin way of live should not be criticized by people from “first world” as the Native Americans way of life isn´t. Otherwise it could be interpreted as some chauvinistic point of view which enforces alien values in the region and upholds eurocentric perspective.

            Reply to Comment
      • Nadav

        What women? Israel only sends the unmarried men to prison.

        Reply to Comment
        • DerAsylant

          so what does happen with women and husband?

          Reply to Comment
          • balbalot

            The Women are trying to survive with the children , signed on “voluntary” return. those who returned found themselves in Khartoum, despite being told they will be returned to Uganda. Those we know about were tortured and their bodys was dumped bleeding at the entrance to the houses of their families.
            Thanks for your “true” concern,

            Reply to Comment
          • DerAsylant

            then why did their male spouses not accompany them? don´t they care about their family at all? and why doesn´t UN establish a refugee agency to help them?

            Reply to Comment
          • Kolumn9

            They get to stay and work illegally in Tel Aviv. For now.

            Reply to Comment
    2. Rev Joy Gonnerman

      I do not know much about this situation and I am sorry about it. As someone else said, you would think that since the land occupied by the State of Israel was given as “asylum” they would be welcoming. This till me, is just another proof that the policies of the State do not, in any way, reflect the past experiences the people who should know better. They have learned from the wrong side of history. So very sad.

      Reply to Comment
      • The Trespasser

        There is not even one reason to welcome migrant workers who came to steal our jobs.

        Reply to Comment
      • DerAsylant

        i think it is not jews but “gentiles” who should know better, as of “their” actions jews are in need of “asylum” in first place. so experience of jews does not matter, but “the gentiles” are the ones who should know better and take care of “africans”.

        Reply to Comment
    3. The Trespasser

      I hope these migrant workers will be locked up for good now.

      Reply to Comment
      • DerAsylant

        i would like to exchange these migrant workers for some israeli or european buisnessmen , if african workers have rights of employment in so called ” first world” states, it would be only fair if people from “first wolrd” could make contribution to the economy of the “african” states. something like granting visas and the employment of 50.000 africans in jobs they are qualified for in exchange for vias and appoval to conduct buisness and acquire property in “african” states for 50.000 israeli buisnessmen

        Reply to Comment
        • The Trespasser

          Me, having some 1st-had experience and knowing a LOT of people who worked in Africa and with Africans, is the most pessimistic regarding this idea, however I’m not saying that the idea is bad – merely not applicable.

          Simply put – Africans are not interested in development. If ANYTHING can be stolen – it will be stolen. If it is possible not to do the job – the job won’t be done. Totally opposed to Germans, Japanese, Americans or Israelis.

          Reply to Comment
          • human

            dude, as a diaspora Jew I will tell you are an effing racist. Shame on you and shame on Israel. I will never make aliyah while people like you hold the power. i’ve lived in africa too and while corruption is rampant, your generalizations about the people are quite pathetic.

            Reply to Comment
          • DerAsylant

            and why did you leave Africa for more delevoped regions? Why didn´t you stay and try to improve african economy and society? And if the situation in Israel is so shameful for jewish why should it be acceptable for “gentile” would-be immigrants? Double standards?

            Reply to Comment
    4. Joel

      Some prison, when thousands of ‘inmates’ can just walk out the door.

      Reply to Comment
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