Although the Israeli government is actively pursuing a detention regime meant to snare as many asylum seekers as possible, some recent legal victories provide a ray of light during an increasingly dark time for asylum seekers and refugees in Israel. By Noa Yachot and Adi Lerner The last year hasn’t been a good one for refugees and asylum seekers in Israel – or for those advocating on their behalf. Since an amendment to the Prevention of Infiltration Law was passed in January 2012, almost all change in the field of refugee rights has been for the worse, with the nascent…Read More... | 3 Comments
Dozens of Tel Aviv municipal officers, border policemen and private movers raided several businesses run by African asylum seekers around Tel Aviv's central bus station, confiscating goods and welding the doors shut. Officials also poured bleach into food in a Darfur refugee's restaurant. Is city hall preparing for the upcoming municipal elections? A group of municipal officials led an operation to close African asylum seekers' illegal businesses in the south Tel Aviv neighborhoods of Neve Sha'anan and Shapira at around 7 p.m. Sunday night. The municipal officers were accompanied by Border Police officers, a photographer and several large moving trucks…Read More... | 21 Comments
In the United Kingdom, the 'Anne Frank' principle makes way for even more creative methods to reject homosexual asylum seekers. When Oscar Wild wrote his in essay, “The Truth of Masks,” about the metaphysical significance of costumes and props in Shakespeare’s plays, he likely didn’t imagine that lesbians seeking asylum in the United Kingdom would need to familiarize themselves with his writing and with props of a different type (which were likely not used in Shakespeare’s plays). But it turns out that a lack of knowledge of his work, or of the use of dildos, could send lesbians to their…Read More... | 2 Comments
Since it began processing requests itself, Israel has approved only one asylum request, an albino girl from the Ivory Coast. Now the RSD unit is recommending that another albino asylum seeker be recognized as a refugee. Spread the word – albinos of Africa unite and come to Israel, you'll be recognized as refugees here. On the other hand, if you're black Africans, you'll find nothing here. Breaking news: the Interior Ministry's Refugee Status Determination (RSD) Unit, which deals with asylum seekers, will recommend – for the third time in three and a half years – that an individual be recognized as a…Read More... | 5 Comments
The Interior Ministry, which processes applications for asylum, is by now well-known in Israel and the world for its lack of credibility. But it has a friend in the courts. We have discussed in the past the ways that the Supreme Court rules on refugee-related matters without any reference to refugee law. Since then, many similar decisions have been taken, and if it seems that we neglected to report on these rulings, it’s because they have become, in our eyes, trivial – courts are disinterested in refugee law. Judges purport to rule in accordance with international law without bothering to…Read More... | 11 Comments
Dear Honorable Minister, Following coalition negotiations, free of Natan Eshel and other evils, you will be sworn in as Israel's interior minister. Having seen the hardships faced by a number of Israel's interior ministers, let us give you three recommendations to ensure that your tenure is pleasant: 1. Don't let lawyers shape policy for you. As we are afflicted with the severe defect of legal thought and reasoning, let us assure you that the lawyers around you will always try to take the reigns to determine policy and dictate your conduct, under the guise of legal advice (sometimes in the…Read More... | 2 Comments
The Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) has released its annual assessment of the state of human rights in Israel and in the occupied Palestinian Territories. The 2012 report includes chapters on house demolitions in Palestinian and Bedouin villages, the occupation of the West Bank and the regime of discrimination, the persecution of asylum seekers, the lack of affordable housing, and the privatization of the police and the judiciary. Established in 1972, ACRI is Israel’s oldest and largest human rights organization and the only one dealing with the entire spectrum of rights and civil liberties issues in Israel and the Occupied Territories. Read more about…Read More... | 2 Comments
Despite a demonstration led by MK Michael Ben-Ari calling for mass deportations, and alongside a heavy police presence, south Tel Aviv's immigrants celebrated the new year. As 2012 came to an end, the situation of the thousands of migrant workers and asylum seekers in Israel remains as uncertain as ever. As a grim reminder of the past year and an omen for what is yet to come, MK Michael Ben-Ari and his extreme-right supporters held another protest calling for the immediate expulsion of all "infiltrators" as a supposed solution to all of South Tel Aviv's problems, leading to the deployment…Read More... | 1 Comment
Immigration authorities announced a halt to arrests during the holidays. But just before the announcement went into effect, and as holiday preparations and celebrations got underway in south Tel Aviv, asylum seekers found themselves under arrest and at risk of deportation. By Rami Gudovitch Friday was a rainy day in Tel Aviv. The head of the immigration authorities, Amnon Ben Ami, had issued a press release promising to cease all arrest operations for the duration of the Christian holidays and New Year’s Eve. The Levinsky Park multi-lingual library, an open library located at the center of the park, was closed…Read More... | 8 Comments
How Israeli courts succeed in employing legal norms in a manner that excludes immigrants from the most basic principles of freedom and justice. Immigrants of all kinds have become, to use Giorgio Agamben's terminology, the paradigmatic homo sacer of our day – they are in the area of indistinction between the external and the internal realm of juridical order, the threshold where inside and outside do not exclude each other but rather blur into one another. They are in this paradoxical realm, in which they are included in the juridical order by means of being excluded from it and abandoned…Read More... | 2 Comments
A new government regulation enables the indefinite incarceration of refugees suspected of committing crimes, even if there is not enough evidence to indict them. Were this regulation applied to Israeli politicians, many of them would be in prison. By Asaf Weitzen The upcoming elections will affect not only the lives of Israeli citizens, they will also affect the fates of more than 60,000 African immigrants living here. Ignorance regarding the circumstances of their arrival to Israel, along with fear and rare bureaucratic creativity, have led to a series of laws and regulations depriving them of their most basic legal protections, which…Read More... | 2 Comments
In many countries, if asylum seekers are engaged in legal proceedings, their deportation is automatically delayed, in light of the implications of deporting an individual to a country where he or she faces danger. In Israel, this principle does not exist. We have discussed elsewhere how the rights of “foreigners” in Israel are considered through the prism of the rights and interests of Israelis. The likelihood of the court granting a “foreigner” relief in the country improves considerably if an Israeli citizen's rights and interest are positively affected. However, when seeking legal status in Israel in order to improve their…Read More... | 2 Comments
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Reports, maps, infographics and other documents on human rights and democracy.
Children under occupation
The effects of occupation on minors.
On the challenges facing a growing population of asylum seekers and refugees in Israel.
A series of striking infographics.
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