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Eritrean refugees

  • PHOTOS: Right-wing activists disrupt Eritrean mourners

    Right-wing activists intentionally disrupt memorial ceremonies held in a public park by Eritrean immigrants. Police arrest two neighbors who attempt to intervene. [Comment added below] Every Saturday, African asylum seekers from the Eritrean community gather in a small park on De Modina Street in the Shapira neighborhood of south Tel Aviv. There, they hold memorial ceremonies for the loved ones who have died in Eritrea or in Sinai while on their way to Israel. For years, these ceremonies have taken place every week with no sound system or speeches - just people sitting and crying together. This week, right-wing activists from…

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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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  • PHOTOS: Asylum seekers protest outside foreign embassies in Tel Aviv

    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,…

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  • Eritrean refugees gather to mourn victims of Lampedusa shipwreck

    Eritrean refugees gathered Saturday in south Tel Aviv's Levinsky Park to mourn and honor the victims of the Lampedusa shipwreck. Over 100 victims, all African refugees, died after a boat carrying them to Europe sank off the southern Italian island of Lampedusa, on October 3. About 150 others are still reported as missing. Some Eritreans living in Israel had family members aboard the ship. Photos: Oren Ziv, Yotam Ronen / Activetills.org  

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  • A year in review: Anti-African racism and asylum seekers in Israel

    While most Israelis were focused on the latest war on Gaza or the last election, verbal incitement, physical attacks, incarceration without trial and forced deportation of Africans continued unabated. A timeline of Israel's war on African asylum-seekers between November 2012 and May 2013. By David Sheen Last Thursday, May 23, 2013, marked exactly one year to the day when a thousand Jewish Israelis ran rampant through the streets of Tel Aviv, smashing and looting African-operated businesses and physically assaulting any dark-skinned person they came across. Sadly, the Israeli economic, political and religious establishment - who were in large measure responsible for…

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  • From Jerusalem Day clashes to stone-throwing settlers: A week in photos - May 2-8

    This week: Palestinians arrested as Israelis march (and bicycle) to Jerusalem, Israeli settlers and Palestinians throw stones, African immigrant women and children are released from prison, a graphic novel portray the popular struggle, shrink-wrapped animal rights activists ride through Tel Aviv, activists demand more Mizrahi Jews on their bills, and the Separation Wall continues to surround Al Walaja.                          

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  • Israel puts Eritrean woman in administrative detention for buying fake work permit

    The Interior Ministry declared Sanait Tesfauneh, an asylum-seeker from Eritrea, a 'threat to public security' and placed her in administrative detention after she was suspected of purchasing a forged work permit. Now, several organizations are attempting to challenge the detention system that deprives asylum seekers of their civil liberties. Victor Hugo's Les Misérables was published in 1862. Over the years the book became the most famous indictment against the treatment of the weak by society, authorities, and the law. Hugo tells the tale of Jean Valjean who was unable to find work to support his family, so he smashed a…

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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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  • Detained refugees appeal to Israelis, rights groups for aid

    The letter below was written by Eritrean refugees, held in administrative detention in Saharonim prison. Under the Prevention of Infiltration Law, they can be imprisoned for three years or more. 31/10/2012 (To whom it may concern): Subject: The judgement against Eritrean refugees in Israel As we all know, it has been years since we were compelled to leave our country as a result of a deteriorating economic and political crisis. We came to Israel to escape intolerable levels of repression and human rights violations in our country. However, we are now concerned to learn that the government of Israel is…

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  • Abducted from Sudan, tortured in Sinai: Mother and child languish in Israeli jail

    After facing brutal treatment at the hands of Sinai smugglers, an Eritrean mother and her baby daughter - who did not intend to go to Israel - have found themselves victim to Israeli policy, despite not having done a thing to deserve such a fate. By Anat Ben-Dor There are things one can do only when no one else is looking. Detaining a baby girl a year and three months old for a period of three years, for instance. We met Ambat* yesterday in Saharonim prison - an active child, she was dressed in red and was held in her mother's…

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  • Asylum seekers: Israeli support for Eritrea prevents us from going home

    'We call on the Israeli government to stop all diplomatic and economic ties with Eritrea, including ending Israeli military presence on Eritrean islands, suspending the sharing of intelligence, and stopping all economic support to the dictatorship.' By Isayas Teklebrhan More than 100 Eritrean asylum seekers traveled to Jerusalem by bus on Sunday to hold a demonstration in front of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The protesters tolerated the hot weather in order to properly convey their message to the Israeli government. The slogans of the demonstrations called on Israel to stop supporting the Eritrean dictatorship and halt all relations with it.…

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  • Mistreatment of refugees not limited to border

    Although the recent incident on Israel's southern border involving Eritrean asylum seekers received international attention, structural violence against African refugees has been going on for over five years now. It is important to remember that those who make it in face enormous difficulties due to state policies. Earlier this month, 21 Eritrean asylum seekers, including a 14-year-old child and two women, spent over a week trapped between fences on the Israeli side of the Israeli-Egyptian border. As the temperatures soared, the group was not provided with any shelter; the "most moral army in the world" gave the refugees only small…

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  • What happened to the refugees while the state lied and the court dithered

    How the state lied to the highest court in the land, how the court lapped it up, and who is really guilty here. Last Thursday, says Adv. Omer Shatz of the Anu Plitim (We Are Refugees) NGO, he showed up at the Supreme Court with his colleague, Adv. Yiftah Cohen, to ask for an injunction ordering the 21 refugees caught between the borders of Israel and Egypt to be brought into the country. Surprisingly, he said in a phone conversation, the process went well: the judges asked the state's counsel some difficult questions, at one point asking her whether she would…

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