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african refugees

  • Asylum seekers to stay in prison while Israelis hit the polls

    Human rights organizations pledge to challenge the latest iteration of the Prevention of Infiltration Law; new poll gives Livni and Labor a chance; Arab parties agree in principle to a joint list; High Court to hear Zoabi's challenge to Knesset suspension. Before disbanding itself ahead of elections, the Knesset on Monday passed its third try at a law that would keep open Israel’s detention center for African asylum seekers. The High Court of Justice struck down two previous versions of the law as unconstitutional and ordered the Holot open prison closed nearly three months ago. The law's fate fell into the…

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  • Lapid and Livni's last act should be to shut down Holot

    Yair Lapid and Tzipi Livni have one last chance to leave a positive legacy: make sure Israel doesn't continue the administrative detention of African asylum seekers who have committed no crime. There is little doubt that Yair Lapid and Tzipi Livni will be the biggest losers of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s decision to fire them from their senior government posts. After the coming elections Lapid will almost certainly find himself in the opposition heading a smaller party, while Livni will most likely find herself in political exile once again. But despite being kicked out the government, Livni and Lapid still…

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  • PHOTOS: Protesters compare High Court to ISIS at anti-refugee rally

    Far-right protest against High Court decision to close Holot detention center greeted by flower-bearing asylum seekers. Around 100 people, including far-right activists and residents of south Tel Aviv, protested Sunday night against asylum seekers and against the High Court decision to close the Holot detention center within 90 days. Some protesters, among them former extremist Knesset member Michael Ben-Ari and radical anti-miscegenation group Lehava's chairman Benzi Gupstein, waved black flags that said "High Court" on them, drawing the comparison between Israel's highest legal body and the Islamic State, or ISIS. Protestors marched to Levinsky Park, where several refugees awaited them with flowers in hand.…

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  • Voices from Israel's 'open prison': Feeling caged in Holot

    'My curiosity drives me to walk around my prison, where I stand like an inmate near those massive buildings, guarded by imposing patrol towers.' Musings by a Sudanese refugee in Holot prison. By Hassan Shakur I live in a rugged and semi-abandoned grassland. It is a very remote and isolated area that doesn’t seem to support life at all. There are numerous rocky hills without trees, and the area lives up to its name as a deserted desert. I live in a small confined center enclosed by a fence that reminds me of a cowshed. The detention facility where I…

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  • WATCH: Confronting an Israeli minister for flouting int'l law

    Sadiq al-Sadiq was returned to Israel earlier this month after finding himself being sent -- against his will -- back to Sudan, from where he fled persecution and genocide. Sadiq is just one of hundreds or thousands of Sudanese who have been pressured to leave Israel. Interior Minister Gideon Sa'ar, who is responsible for the asylum seeker population in Israel, has made it clear that he intends to empty the country of African asylum seekers. "If we treat this [problem] like liberals, we'll lose the country," he has said in the past. Earlier this month, one Israeli activist confronted Sa'ar…

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  • WATCH: Exploiting African asylum seeker labor

    Three African asylum seekers were hired by a family in the Israeli city of Bat Yam; the municipality demanded that they stop working. When the asylum seekers demanded payment from the family for time worked, they were refused. Israel Social TV joined them with a camera when they demanded their pay.

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  • Photo diary: Inside Israel's 'Holot' detention center for asylum seekers

    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…

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  • WATCH: Rapper Jasiri X visits African refugees in south Tel Aviv

    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…

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  • No excuse for Israel's denial of asylum seekers' plight

    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,…

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  • Asylum seekers in Israel globalize protest

    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…

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  • Photos of the week: Asylum seeker struggle picks up steam

    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.                      

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  • PHOTOS: African women march for their rights in Tel Aviv

    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 Israel                      

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