African asylum seekers converge on the Holot 'open' detention center to demand the release of those held there, and call for a comprehensive solution for their community. Photos and text by: Yotam Ronen, Oren Ziv and Tali Mayer/Activestills.org African asylum seekers from different cities in Israel held a two-day protest outside Holot detention center in the Negev, on February 17-18, 2014. Around 500 African immigrants gathered outside the center to call on Israeli authorities for the release of all people imprisoned under the Prevention of Infiltration Law, and find a comprehensive solution for the asylum seeker community. The detainees of Holot joined the demonstration…Read More... | 15 Comments
Protest leaders vow to continue their struggle until a solution is found. Some 1,000 maintain sit-in at Levinsky Park. Photos by: Oren Ziv, Tali Mayer, Keren Manor, Yotam Ronen / Activestills.org A renewed asylum seeker protest entered its fourth day on Wednesday as 1,000 African asylum seekers maintained a sit-in at south Tel Aviv’s Levinsky Park. “The struggle didn't stop,” Walla News cited Darfuri asylum seeker and protest leader Mutasim Ali as saying, “it will continue until there is a solution.” Things are only getting worse for asylum seekers since the protests began, he explained, citing the large number…Read More... | 6 Comments
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…Read More... | 3 Comments
An in-depth look at the historical and political developments that shaped Israel’s current African asylum-seeker crisis — and one way to resolve it that meets Israel’s own needs while doing right by those who most need its protection. African asylum seekers in Israel have brought their struggle into the limelight in recent weeks. Through acts of civil disobedience, public protests and a mass labor strike, the mostly Eritrean and Sudanese nationals are attempting to shift the public discourse surrounding their presence in the country, gain access to a credible process in which they can seek asylum, and challenge a new…Read More... | 10 Comments
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…Read More... | 13 Comments
The faces and stories of African asylum seekers indefinitely detained at 'Holot,' Israel's new 'open' prison. Project by: Oren Ziv/Activestills.org, Hotline for Refugees and Migrants This portrait series was taken outside of the Holot prison for African asylum seekers in Israel's Negev desert. Israeli authorities refer to Holot as an 'open facility' because its detainees can leave for a few hours at a time. Prior to their transfer to Holot on December 12 and 13, 2013, all the subjects photographed were held under administrative detention in the "Saharonim" and "Ketsiot" Israeli prisons for periods of more then 18 months. Under current…Read More... | 7 Comments
The Jewish state has always relied on its 'schnorr' abilities in order to raise funds from Jewish communities throughout the world. Israel should now use these abilities in order to establish an international Jewish appeal for Syrian refugees. By Ilan Manor Conventional Israeli wisdom has it that the world has lost interest in Syria and its ongoing civil war. This belief was best exemplified last week by Israel's Channel 10 whose news department aired a newscast dealing with the chaos in Syria. The news segment, prepared by Arab affairs correspondent Zvi Yehezkeli, delivered a simple message - the world has…Read More... | 10 Comments
At the start of this week, African asylum seekers in Israel began a 'Strike for Freedom,' not showing up to their places of work and taking to the streets to make their demands: an end to detentions of asylum seekers and that the Israeli government individually examine their asylum claims. Tens of thousands marched to central Tel Aviv, foreign embassies and staged a protest outside the Knesset, ultimately declaring the strike open-ended. Read +972's full coverage of African asylum seekers in Israel …Read More... | 9 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
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…Read More... | 20 Comments
In an unprecedented protest, some 20,000 African asylum seekers march to Rabin Square to demand that Israel examine their asylum claims and stop arresting and detaining members of the refugee community. Over 20,000 asylum seekers, mostly from Eritrea, assembled in Tel Aviv's Rabin Square Sunday morning to demand recognition as refugees. Across Israel, asylum seekers went on a three-day strike, and more protests were planned. In recent weeks, the government stepped up the arrest and imprisonment of African asylum seekers who entered the state without permits. Several months ago, Israel's High Court of Justice struck down a law authorizing the state…Read More... | 30 Comments
In protest of new law authorizing indefinite detention and a wave of roundups in south Tel Aviv, asylum seekers declare general strike and three days of protests. Thousands of African asylum seekers met in a south Tel Aviv park Saturday night to plan a three-day general strike protesting Israel’s asylum and immigration policies. Their central demands are an end to the practice of indefinitely detaining asylum seekers and that Israel individually examine their requests for asylum and refugee status. Read: Asylum seekers claim a place on the Israeli political map Currently Israel does not examine the asylum claims of Sudanese…Read More... | 8 Comments
This week: Former hunger striking Palestinian prisoner gets a taste of freedom; African asylum seekers march through central Tel Aviv and the Negev desert demanding recognition as refugees and an end to detentions; an art exhibit in Bethlehem brings occupation to pilgrims, one tear gas canister at a time; a week after massive storm, Gaza residents still struggle to recover from floods; Afghan asylum seekers march in Belgium; Tel Aviv homeless activists face eviction from tent encampment; and, Israeli journalists demand better wages and work conditions.Read More... | 2 Comments
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On the challenges facing a growing population of asylum seekers and refugees in Israel.
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