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. 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. Ahmad, who asked that we not use his last name in order to protect him from retribution by prison authorities, escaped from Darfur five and a half years ago and…Read More... | 24 Comments
At the same time that a group of prominent African-American journalists and artists was touring Israel and Palestine earlier this month, African asylum seekers in Tel Aviv were taking to the streets to demand basic rights and refugee status. For rapper-activist Jasiri X, being so close to the refugee protests compelled him to come and see their struggle with his own eyes, he explained. “It’s been heartbreaking," JasiriX told Israel Social TV at Levinski Park in south Tel Aviv. Media reports on Israel/Palestine are often whitewashed versions of the real story, he added, “so to come here and see and hear…Read More... | 3 Comments
Refugees’ fear of arrest, torture, and death should be sufficient justification for their inability to return their countries of origin. So why is the Israeli government refusing to grant African refugees asylum status? A personal story. By Guy Josif and Anna Rose Siegel For the past three weeks, tens of thousands of African refugees in Israel, along with Israeli activists, have participated in demonstrations, hunger and labor strikes, and continual political engagement in opposition to intensified efforts by Israeli officials to detain refugees without due process. In response to these actions, Prime Minister Netanyahu stated that these people are not refugees,…Read More... | 5 Comments
After more than a month of continuous protests and actions, the African asylum seeker community in Israel declared Wednesday an 'International day of solidarity with the African asylum seeker community in Israel.' Marches and protests have been planned in Tel Aviv, as well as outside Israeli consulates and embassies and UN offices in major cities throughout North America and Europe. Letters will be delivered to Israeli ambassadors and UNHCR officials demanding Israel ceases its policy of imprisonment and recognize the community as refugees, and calling on the UN refugee agency to take immediate responsibility. Read +972′s full coverage of African…Read More... | 13 Comments
This week: African asylum seekers continue their struggle in Israel, Afghan asylum seekers march in Brussels, Palestinians block traffic and plant trees, activists promote joint struggle while opposing normalization, visitors express solidarity in the Jordan Valley, and officials demolish homes in South Africa.Read More... | 1 Comment
Over 1,000 women asylum seekers and their children on Wednesday protested against a new detention center and called on the Israeli government to recognize their rights as refugees. The march proceeded from south Tel Aviv to UNHCR offices and the U.S. embassy in an action following last week's general strike and mass protests. Photos by: Keren Manor, Yotam Ronen, Oren Ziv Click for +972′s full coverage of asylum seekers in IsraelRead More... | 3 Comments
At the start of this week, African asylum seekers in Israel began a 'Strike for Freedom,' not showing up to their places of work and taking to the streets to make their demands: an end to detentions of asylum seekers and that the Israeli government individually examine their asylum claims. Tens of thousands marched to central Tel Aviv, foreign embassies and staged a protest outside the Knesset, ultimately declaring the strike open-ended. Read +972's full coverage of African asylum seekers in Israel …Read More... | 9 Comments
Israel’s national lore tends to prefer the image of an economic miracle, where Jewish spunk and pluck made the desert bloom and gave rise to an unbeatable hi-tech industry. The reality, however, reveals a far different picture. A tiny exclusive Tel Aviv chef restaurant posted a warm message of support on Facebook for its beloved Eritrean cook, who is on strike this week. Another trendy Tel Aviv eatery posted a sign asking its customers to understand why it is serving food on disposable plates. According to Israel's state-run Channel 1 news, on the third day of strikes and protests by African…Read More... | 20 Comments
Photos & reports: Keren Manor, Yotam Ronen, Tali Mayer, Shiraz Grinbaum, Oren Ziv / Activestills.org Thousands of African asylum seekers and their supporters marched from Levinksy Park in Tel Aviv's south on Monday to protest outside of eight foreign embassies, calling on the international community to support their struggle against Israel's asylum policies. Marching to the American, British, Swedish, Italian, Canadian, Ethiopian, French and German embassies, the asylum seekers called on the foreign governments exert pressure on Israel to examine their asylum claims and stop arresting and detaining members of the refugee community. The asylum seekers also marched to the United Nations Refugee Agency,…Read More... | 1 Comment
When a group of Jewish Israelis set out for the Holot 'open prison' in the Negev, they were hoping to sing Christmas carols to the asylum seekers. But by the time they got there, the things they saw and heard made it clear that there was nothing to sing about. By Ayla Peggy Adler When asylum seekers from Eritrea and Sudan walked out of the Holot prison last week, they walked out of obscurity. Until then, even people like myself who had been involved in their community six years ago when they first arrived to Israel—and who, three years later,…Read More... | 45 Comments
For the second time this week, 130 asylum seekers leave the Holot ‘open’ prison facility in southern Israel to march through the desert in protest of their detention and the arrest of their comrades in the previous march. This time around, immigration officers stopped the march shortly after it began. Photos By: Oren Ziv, Tali Mayer / Activestills.orgRead More...
Ido Naveh says he will continue to stage non-violent protests outside Israel's desert detention camp until all the asylum seekers held within it are freed. By David Sheen Many Israelis may support their government's efforts to keep non-Jewish asylum seekers from Africa at bay and beyond the borders of the country. In recent weeks, however, one man has repeatedly provoked prison officials into detaining him, in order to protest the imprisonment of the Africans. Ido Naveh of Jerusalem has been detained at least three times in the last month for maintaining a non-violent vigil outside of Saharonim, Israel’s desert detention…Read More... | 4 Comments
Israel could learn a thing or two from the Kenyan High Court's rebuttal of efforts to lock up asylum seekers. There are judges in Nairobi , and they are more courageous and much more familiar with refugee law than judges in Jerusalem. A Kenyan court last month published a ruling on a government decision to round up asylum seekers from urban areas and put them in refugee camps, from which they will need permits to leave. There are around 600,000 asylum seekers in Kenya. At the end of 2012, the Kenyan government published a new policy saying that asylum seekers…Read More... | 7 Comments
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