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
Sadiq al-Sadiq was returned to Israel earlier this month after finding himself being sent -- against his will -- back to Sudan, from where he fled persecution and genocide. Sadiq is just one of hundreds or thousands of Sudanese who have been pressured to leave Israel. Interior Minister Gideon Sa'ar, who is responsible for the asylum seeker population in Israel, has made it clear that he intends to empty the country of African asylum seekers. "If we treat this [problem] like liberals, we'll lose the country," he has said in the past. Earlier this month, one Israeli activist confronted Sa'ar…Read More... | 4 Comments
Sadiq al-Sadiq says he never agreed to return to his home country, where he fears persecution. Israeli authorities, however, say he signed a document agreeing to just that. Based on Avi Belcherman's Hebrew article on +972's sister site, "Local Call" Adapted by Michael Omer-Man A Darfurian asylum seeker who left the Israel last week under the assumption that he was going to a third country — but soon found himself being sent back to Sudan — was returned to Israel on Friday. Activists said that his return to Israel took place against his will, and that he was being held…Read More...
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... | 11 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
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
The 150 men walk six hours through the Negev desert in bid to reach Jerusalem, are currently in Be'er Sheva and rebuffing authorities' offer to bus them back to the 'Holot' open prison facility that opened late last week. Text by Michael Omer-Man Photos by Yotam Ronen, Oren Ziv, Shiraz Grinbaum/Activestills.org Roughly 150 Sudanese asylum seekers left a new 'open prison' and walked six hours to Be'er Sheva in a mass act of civil disobedience protesting their continued detention without trial and demanding recognition as refugees on Sunday. The asylum seekers were transferred to the new facility, “Holot,” in recent…Read More... | 14 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
In its response to a petition filed by human rights organizations and six African asylum seekers, the State Attorney's office said today that the government has not made an official decision to arrest Sudanese refugees. The reply also said that Interior Minister Eli Yishai, who stated publicly that asylum seekers have until October 15 to leave the country on their own accord, spoke without government authorization. According to the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, one of the organizations that filed the petition in hopes of preventing the state from detaining asylum seekers: The State Attorney emphasized in its reply…Read More... | 1 Comment
A Jerusalem court issued a temporary injunction on Thursday, prohibiting the detention of Sudanese refugees. The group was slated for arrest and forced transfer to a prison camp in the Negev desert beginning on October 15. The court's move comes in response to an October 3 petition, filed by the Clinic for Migrants’ Rights at the Academic Center of Law and Business, the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI), the Hotline for Migrant Workers, ASSAF Aid Organization for Refugees and Asylum Seekers in Israel, the African Refugee Development Center (ADRC), and Kav La’Oved, as well six African asylum seekers. The petition was filed against Interior…Read More... | 2 Comments
Activists believe the deportation of South Sudanese will most probably not lower the number of African migrants in Israel, and it is also a direct violation of Israel's obligations under international commitments. Israeli authorities have begun arresting dozens of African migrants, as reported by +972's Mya Guarnieri. It is the latest in an effort to crackdown on individuals who over the years have entered the country illegally. The move comes despite a court order that the government allow them one week to turn themselves in voluntarily. The one week period expires on Thursday. The government hopes to deport an unspecified number…Read More... | 8 Comments
MK Miri Regev, Likud (Video): The Sudanese are a cancer in our body. MK Yulia Shamalov Berkovitch, Kadima (Ynet): All human rights activists [who protect the Africans] should be imprisoned and transported to camps we are building. Interior Minister Eli Yishai, Shas (Maariv): Muslims that arrive here do not even believe that this country belongs to us, to the white man. (...) Do you know that many women in Tel Aviv were raped and are now afraid to report [it to the police] so that won't be seen as AIDS carriers? Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu: The breach of our borders by…Read More... | 7 Comments
UPDATE: At the end of the Knesset hearing Tuesday, MK (Kadima) Yulia Shamalov Berkovtich said that "All human rights activists should be imprisoned and transported to camps we are building," referring to a facility now being constructed in the south to hold African refugees. She referred to those aiding refugees as "hypocrites" that incite against Jews. After the controversy in which Likud MK Miri Regev denied (documented) footage of her calling Sudanese a "cancer," National Union MK Michael Ben-Ari defends use of the term at Knesset special hearing. On Tuesday morning, the Knesset Committee on Internal Affairs and the Environment…Read More... | 27 Comments
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