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eritrea

  • WATCH: Listening to the 'Sound of Torture'

    A new Israeli film takes a disturbing look at the torture camps for Eritrean refugees in Sinai, and the Swedish-Eritrean journalist who has devoted herself to exposing the torture victims’ stories and ending their suffering. Related: A life of forced labor: Why Israel's Eritrean refugees fled home Testimony: Sudanese refugee details torture by Sinai smugglers What the bones remember: Israeli doctors talk torture

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  • A life of forced labor: Why Israel's Eritrean refugees fled home

    Is Eritrea's brutal dictatorship on the verge of collapse? By Elizabeth Tsurkov Israel is home to about 35,000 Eritrean asylum-seekers. While the Israeli government claims that they are work migrants, so as not to violate its own laws, Israel does not forcibly deport Eritreans back to their country of origin. As long as Eritrea is ruled by the current regime, the millions of Eritreans living outside of their homeland cannot return, but is it possible that the regime in Eritrea will soon collapse? Recent reports from Eritrea and refugees who recently fled the east-African country indicate that the regime is…

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  • Between Tel Aviv and Holot: Open jail splits refugee family

    Six years after he fled Eritrea for Israel, Aman has found himself living in Holot - an 'open detention center' built by the Israeli government for African asylum seekers. His wife and his daughter, on the other hand, were left behind in Tel Aviv and are not permitted to live with him. By Ayla Peggy Adler  When Aman, who has been sitting in Israeli prisons for over two years, was moved to the new Holot “open detention center,” he was told he was no longer a prisoner, but a resident.  That got him thinking. “If I’m a resident, then my…

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  • Day 2 of African asylum seeker protest: What do they want?

    African asylum seekers are holding their second of a three-day national protest. On Monday, thousands of asylum seekers, most of whom are employed by hotels and restaurants, went on strike and held large rallies in front of Western and African embassies. The protesters are calling on the international community to make sure Israel respects its commitments under the UN Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, thus ensuring that the Israeli government ceases rounding up and imprisoning asylum seekers without trial, and that it releases inmates already held under the revised anti-infiltration bill. In a press release sent on Sunday , the protest…

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  • Why boycotts against Israel are fair game

    Israel is unique in one very important way: for other malefactors like Syria and Sudan, there is no need to convince the international public of their wrongs. If it wasn’t a persuasive argument, Israel’s defenders wouldn’t keep using it, like they are now against Alice Walker: Why are these left-wingers singling Israel out for boycott, not to mention condemnation, when so many other countries are committing far worse injustices and causing so much more suffering? Why aren’t these people boycotting Syria, or Iran, or the Taliban, or Sudan, or Eritrea, or Zimbabwe, or China, or Saudi Arabia, or any of…

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  • Court: Eritrean torture victim must remain in jail

    It is clear that through its decision to leave the asylum seeker in custody, the court refused to recognized his particular situation. Thus, it rejected the possibility that will forever remain open before us: the possibility - which is both an obligation and a right -- to discover compassion. By Asaf Weitzen Judge Eliyahu Beitan of the Be'er Sheva District Court recently handed down a decision on an appeal filed by Raya Meiler of the Hotline for Migrant Workers, ordering the continued detainment of an Eritrean asylum seeker, despite him being recognized as a victim of severe torture. Among the explanations…

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  • Eritreans in Israel face unique obstacles in protesting for their country's future

    Had the Israeli media paid attention to a protest by Eritrean refugees outside their embassy last week, the public would have learned something valuable about the Eritrean community in Israel: they desperately want a better future for their country so that one day soon, they can go home. By Sigal Rozen Over 200 Eritrean refugees gathered last Friday, despite the rain and a storm, in front of the Eritrean embassy in Ramat Gan to express their support for Eritrean soldiers who rebelled last week and took over the Eritrean Ministry of Information's building in the capital Asmara. For a moment, it…

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  • Who cares about the UN?

    Israel accepts or rejects the UN refugee agency's positions as it sees fit. In addition to indicating a general disregard for the United Nations, its approach toward UNHCR, whose establishment Israel once enthusiastically supported, demonstrates a serious need for additional refugee law expertise. By Dr. Yuval Livnat R. told Interior Ministry representatives that he is an Eritrean citizen and eligible for protection from deportation to his country. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, which interviewed R., gave his lawyer from the Hotline for Migrant Workers a letter supporting his position. The Interior Ministry determined that R. is Ethiopian. A…

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  • PHOTO ESSAY: A sprawling desert prison, for thousands of refugees

    On Thursday, I traveled to the south with a group of journalists and bloggers to view the construction of new detention facilities around Ketsiot, near the Egyptian border. When completed, the four prisons in the area are meant to be able to hold more than 16,000 inmates, making them, together, the largest detention facility for immigrants in the West. The trip was organized by ASSAF - Aid Organization for Refugees and Asylum Seekers in Israel, with the participation of Physicians for Human Rights, the Hotline for Migrant Workers and Amnesty International. Aid workers and reporters are not allowed into the…

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  • African refugees must be processed by Israel, not criminalized

    When it comes to the issue of refugees, or 'infiltrators,' emotions often get the best of those who are defending one term or another. But facts are facts, apples are apples, oranges are oranges. I was reminded of the above when reviewing Oren Ziv's images of the mother and daughter being arrested at a kindergarten in the Hatikva neighborhood of Tel Aviv. Naturally, no human can deny the human emotions as evident in the photos. Some will say that the Left is exploiting such images to make those who are for deportation feel and look bad. The Left will use…

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  • Eritrean asylum seeker details recent hunger strike, fear of indefinite incarceration

    Some 500 asylum seekers held in a prison in the desert recently refused food in protest of a new law that enables Israel to keep them in detention indefinitely. By Sharon Livne "Don't tell anyone my name, I'm afraid of what they'll do to me here if they know I talked." So began a nighttime telephone call with C., age 23, who has been incarcerated for 11 months  in the Saharonim prison in the Negev. According to C., the Eritrean detainees in Saharonim began a hunger strike in protest of their imprisonment for a minimum of three years, in accordance…

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  • Asylum seeker to Israel: Probe claims Eritrean Embassy extorts refugees

    By Isayas Teklebrhan I traveled to the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Jerusalem on September 3, 2012 in order to submit the following letter, designed to expose the Eritrean dictatorial regime. When I arrived at the building, I explained to the security guards, that I am an Eritrean asylum seeker wishing to submit an open letter to the minister of foreign affairs. After making a phone call to inquire about my case, I was told I could not deliver my letter. When I tried to negotiate, the guards called the police, who instructed me to leave the scene. A United…

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  • A scorching desert jail for asylum seekers, with no way out

    While Eritrean asylum seekers cannot be deported due to the risk they would face upon return, the new Prevention of Infiltration Law enables Israel to keep them in prison indefinitely. New arrivals, most having faced rape and torture en route to Israel, are presently being held in a prison in the desert, and nobody knows how long they'll be kept there. A visit to Ketsiot prison. By Yonatan Berman Almost three years ago, I wrote about how much I hate the journey to Ketsiot prison; how frustrating it is there, even for the fleeting visitor who knows that at the…

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