Since 2001, June 20th is celebrated globally as World Refugee Day. In Israel, there are 55,000 asylum seekers, mainly from Eritrea and Sudan, two of the main source countries for refugees worldwide, a new UN report shows.
Text by: Yotam Gidron, photos by: Keren Manor, Yotam Ronen, Shiraz Grinbaum / Activestills.org
Last Thursday, refugees and Israelis gathered in Tel Aviv to mark World Refugee Day, in an event initiated by different organizations of the refugee community and Israeli human rights organizations. Taking place in Gan Ha’Hashmal, where neglected south Tel Aviv meets the richer and more fashionable parts of the city, the event featured three different musical bands formed by refugees, and both Israeli and African speakers.
Organizers said the event was intended to celebrate the various cultures of the refugee communities in Israel as well as to protest against the government’s hostile policies towards them. Speakers mainly referred to the difficult situations in their homelands and called for the immediate release of the 2,000 asylum seekers currently being detained under the Anti-Infiltration Law. The law, which the state started implementing this year, authorizes the indefinite detention without trial of men, women and children who enter the country illegally.
As of 2001, June 20th is celebrated globally as World Refugee Day. In Israel, there are 55,000 asylum seekers, mainly from Eritrea and Sudan, two of the main source countries for refugees worldwide, a new UN report shows.
Two days later, on Saturday evening, the Garden Library in south Tel Aviv’s Levinsky Park held the premiere of an original Sudanese theater show called, “One Strong Black.” The play was initiated by a group of asylum seekers from Sudan.