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…Read More... | 9 Comments
Around 1,000 asylum seekers walk out of the Holot open detention facility but are stopped short of the Egyptian border, announce they will no longer seek acceptance by the Israeli government and demand that the United Nations take responsibility for them and resettle them in third countries. Text by Michael Omer-Man Photos by Oren Ziv, Yotam Ronen / Activestills.org Update (Sunday 8:30 p.m.): Police arrested the asylum seekers and loaded them onto buses. For more information and photos, click here. Update (Sunday 7 p.m.): Police told asylum seekers that they have 15 minutes to get onto buses back to…Read More... | 6 Comments
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…Read More... | 10 Comments
Some 150 Sudanese asylum seekers jailed in the Saharonim prison began an open-ended hunger strike on Sunday. The prisoners, all of whom took part in the March For Freedom last month and were taken back to the facility, announced they would continue to strike until their release. Since Sunday, prison authorities have isolated the hunger strikers, and today four of the leaders were transferred from Saharonim prison to a Be'er Sheva jail. This following is the letter they wrote to the Israeli public. Read +972's full coverage of asylum seekers in Israel Hunger strike for freedom and human rights To the Israeli…Read More... | 16 Comments
Asylum seekers return meals for fifth straight day in protest of administrative detention, NGOs report. (Updated below) Some 350 Eritrean asylum seekers are in the fifth day of a hunger strike protesting their administrative detention in an Israeli prison. Asylum seekers in Block 3 of the Saharonim detention facility began a hunger strike on Saturday June 22, according to the Hotline for Migrant Workers and Physicians for Human Rights. A day later, detainees in Block 4 began returning their meals as well. Nearly 2,000 African asylum seekers are being held in Israeli prison facilities under the Anti-Infiltration Law, passed last…Read More... | 6 Comments
Respected Israeli journalist Ben Caspit recently launched an attack against African asylum seekers in Israeli national newspapers 'The Post' and 'Jerusalem Post.' A response to the racist incitement and damaging factual inaccuracies. By Natasha Roth and Leah McDonnell A recent article in The Post's Sof Hashavua magazine, which was subsequently translated into English and published in The Jerusalem Post, addressed the topic of asylum seekers in south Tel Aviv. Unfortunately for all concerned, the piece was extraordinarily inflammatory and heavily speculative. Additionally, a great deal of the information used to support the arguments put forward in the piece was factually and…Read More... | 4 Comments
Israel’s supposed plan to send tens of thousands of Eritrean asylum seekers to an unspecified African country raises enormous humanitarian, human rights and political concerns. The 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees recognizes that: …the grant of asylum may place unduly heavy burdens on certain countries, and that a satisfactory solution of a problem of which the United Nations has recognized the international scope and nature cannot therefore be achieved without international co-operation… This is another way of saying that countries bordering conflict zones – often poor and unstable themselves – tend to endure the primary burden of…Read More... | 55 Comments
This week: Palestinians erect a new West Bank protest village, show solidarity with hunger striking prisoners and demonstrate against the occupation, while a 61-year-old Israeli woman is evicted from her home and Eritrean asylum seekers call for an end to the dictatorial regime in their home country.Read More... | 1 Comment
'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.…Read More... | 6 Comments
Contrary to Israeli statements suggesting that 18 starved Eritrean agreed to go back to Egypt, the survivors tell lawyers their comrades were forcibly dragged away from the fence, despite begging to be killed rather than returned to Egypt. The refugees reported they were previously tear gassed, pushed away with metal rods and denied food. The Egyptian soldiers near the border told the group that the men were unwanted but they would take the women of the group and rape them, in addition to the two they were raping already. The following are excerpts from testimonies given by two women…Read More... | 7 Comments
In the case of the refugees trapped on the Israeli border, as in the matter of hunger striking prisoner Khader Adnan, Israel's highest court wriggled out of a decision, escaping the shackles of democracy and international law that are supposed to guide its work. Last February, a Palestinian prisoner in an Israeli jail was on the verge of death, more than two months into a hunger strike he had launched in protest of his administrative detention order under Israeli military law. On Sunday, February 19, the High Court of Justice agreed to hear Khader Adnan’s petition against the order – and…Read More... | 3 Comments
The Prevention of Infiltration Law, which enables asylum seekers to be detained for three years or more without trial, can now be applied to anyone with a 'criminal background.' But what does 'criminal background' mean? It's unclear. By Elizabeth Tsurkov In early July 2012, the Ministry of Interior and the Israel Police decided to allow asylum seekers with a vaguely defined “criminal background” to be detained under the new Prevention of Infiltration Law. Following the expansion of prisons to hold thousands more migrants, Israel began enforcing the law on June 3. Since then, all newly arrived asylum seekers, including children…Read More... | 5 Comments
The suspect in the stabbing is a white Israeli man who fled the scene. All three Eritreans reportedly suffered light injuries. At around 11 a.m. this morning (Tuesday), a man entered an internet cafe in the Shapira neighborhood of south Tel Aviv, stabbed three Eritrean asylum seekers who were inside, and fled the scene. One man was reportedly stabbed in his back, another in his knee and the third in his hand. The stabber has not yet been identified but is alleged to be an Israeli male. UPDATE: An Israeli resident of south Tel Aviv, aged 38 and reportedly mentally…Read More... | 36 Comments
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