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WATCH: Eritrean refugee's shocking personal testimony

Zabib Sultan, an asylum seeker from Eritrea who heads the Eritrean Women’s Community Center, shares a shocking testimony about her and other women’s experiences on their way to Israel. She gave her testimony during a meeting organized by Amnesty International and the ASAF NGO on May 23, 2013.

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    1. The Trespasser

      What is very symptomatic, is that the woman was not asked why Eritreans and other “refugees” are being subjected to inhumane treatment and torture.

      Are these leftists too afraid of the truth?

      Reply to Comment
      • Haifawi

        That people take advantage of their weakness to brutalize them? What is there to be afraid of?

        Reply to Comment
        • The Trespasser

          That is only a part of the truth.

          Reply to Comment
          • Haifawi

            And the rest of the “truth” oh enlightened one?

            Reply to Comment
          • The Trespasser

            I suggest you go and find an article about banishment of “refugees” from an Arab village. Might enlighten you a bit.

            Reply to Comment
    2. rsgengland

      Israel is portrayed in the world and ‘liberal’ media as the reincarnation of the worst evil.
      And yet all these people have traveled immense distances over often hostile terrain to get to Israel.
      I must be missing, or getting, something wrong.
      If Israel is so bad, why did they come to, and why are they still trying to come.
      Incidentally, where does Social TV get its funding, and is it from foreign sources.

      Reply to Comment
      • Haifawi

        Somebody just read “The Big Book of Im Tirtzu discourse” for the first time.

        Reply to Comment
        • Kolumn9

          The information is publicly available on Social TV’s site –

          2012
          CORDAID: 45,000 EURO
          Sigrid Rausing Trust: 32,000 GBP
          EMHRF – Euro-Mediterranean Foundation of Support to Human Rights Defenders: 5,000 EURO
          British Shalom-Salaam Trust: 3,000 GBP
          FMEP – Foundation for Middle East Peace: 4,000 USD
          New Israel Fund: 25,000 USD

          I believe it is the same list of donors that I have seen several times when looking up other contributors of articles to 972mag. It was an article by dentists for social peace or gardeners for tree justice or something similar. It almost makes one believe that all these productions are the result of a concerted effort on the part of foreign organizations and governments to create the appearance of a political movement that has no actual support among the population. It is almost like direct foreign intervention in the domestic politics of another state, which is usually considered a very unfriendly act.

          Reply to Comment
          • ohyeah

            +972 Magazine is on the Green Party’s server in Germany.

            Reply to Comment
      • Ayla

        They didn’t set out to come to Israel. They just kept going until they got to a safe place (where they wouldn’t be killed, tortured, or raped. There was a time when I would have said, too, where they wouldn’t be imprisoned longterm, but that’s no longer true). If you want to use that to paint Israel as a beacon of light in the region (not sure if that’s where you’re coming from, or if your question is sincere), then you’re just deflecting the ways in which Israel is, nonetheless, lacking a refugee policy for non-Jews that is a prerequisite for democracies. If your question is sincere, then I’d say that Israel isn’t all bad nor all good, just as most things and most countries and most humans are not all bad or all good, and we could be doing a *lot* better with asylum seekers.

        Reply to Comment
        • The Trespasser

          >They didn’t set out to come to Israel. They just kept going until they got to a safe place (where they wouldn’t be killed, tortured, or raped.

          They did set out to come to Israel because Israel, accidentally, happens to be the only regional country where they won’t be killed, tortured or raped.

          Reply to Comment
          • Lana

            They always go there. the time of the Ottomans arrived many

            Reply to Comment
        • Kolumn9

          I am sorry, but that is just a dumb comment. Where do you think they were headed? Syria? Seriously? Yes, they were explicitly headed for Israel as testimony from many attest.

          The other part about a refugee policy being a pre-requisite for democracy is equally dumb. What does one even remotely have to do with the other? Either your phrasing is problematic or you have a very strange understanding of what democracy entails.

          Reply to Comment
          • Ben Zakkai

            Point 1: Overwhelmingly, Eritreans and Sudanese aren’t economic migrants, they’re refugees. It beggars belief that they would endure the (sometimes lethal) hell they’ve experienced in travelling to Israel, just to make 10 shekels an hour working illegally in Tel Aviv. If that were the case, then Israel would be equally flooded with refugees from many other African and other third world countries. The “economic migrant” characterization is a lie worthy of Goebbels, used to justify treating refugees like criminals.

            Reply to Comment
          • The Trespasser

            >Point 1: Overwhelmingly, Eritreans and Sudanese aren’t economic migrants, they’re refugees.

            Bullshit. Most of refugees are economic migrants. More than once I’ve heard them admitting that they came to Israel because there is work here.
            Furthermore, nearly 100% of Ethiopian “refugees” are not entitled to be such – there is no international law which would state that draft evaders are entitled to refuge.

            >It beggars belief that they would endure the (sometimes lethal) hell they’ve experienced in travelling to Israel

            Apparently, you are not aware that:
            1) Families of “refugees” were paying Bedouins large sums of money to traffic their relatives to Israel
            2) Human life anywhere in Africa costs even less than AK-74 round.

            >just to make 10 shekels an hour working illegally in Tel Aviv.

            More nonsense.

            10 NIS per hour is about 1000 times more than they could even hope to earn in their homelands.

            >If that were the case, then Israel would be equally flooded with refugees from many other African and other third world countries.

            Are you living on Mars or something? Israel was flooded by migrants from entire Africa, which is why the wall was built.

            >The “economic migrant” characterization is a lie worthy of Goebbels, used to justify treating refugees like criminals.

            I strongly suggest that you go to the Old CBS area in Tel Aviv and befriend a migrant or two. Buying illegal substances would be a good reason. Spend some time with them, buy them a beer. You might learn something new.

            >Point 2: Refugees are entitled under the Convention and Protocol to apply for asylum in any country they reach, not just “bordering” countries.

            Yes, but no state is obliged to give them any official status simply because they decided to apply for refuge there.

            >To claim otherwise shows absolute ignorance of the law. And, in fact, Ethiopia, Sudan, Egypt, and Israel all largely fail to honor their obligations as signatories and adjudicate Eritrean refugee claims.

            Isn’t Ethiopia in war with Eritrea? Sudan is signatory to what? Egypt gave refugee status to great most Eritreans, but they kept coming to Israel.

            Dude, you simply have no idea what you are talking about.

            >But the first three countries haven’t fooled the rest of the world into thinking that they respect human rights.

            There is no “human rights” which would state that any state is obliged to provide shelter and job to whoever comes from a safe 3rd country and claims what he’s a refugee.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben Zakkai

            Wow, how do you spout nonsense with such absolute confidence? I’ve got years of professional experience in refugee and asylum law, including the situation in Eritrea. What are your qualifications? You read something on the back of a cereal box?

            1. More than 90% of the illegal African immigrants to Israel are from Eritrea and Sudan. Those two countries are recognized throughout the world as oppressive, persecutory regimes that generate millions of refugees. The fact that an Eritrean refugee might have continued on to Israel rather than stay in Egypt or Sudan — countries where Eritreans are generally treated miserably, sometimes killed and sometimes unlawfully returned to Eritrea (“safe third countries,” my Aunt Petunia; what are you smoking?) — does not mean that the Eritreans aren’t refugees, even if some of them are also motivated by stories of the good life in Israel. Fact is, given what we already know about Eritrea, the Eritreans are more bona fide as refugees than European Jews were in the 1930′s, when nobody knew that the Holocaust was coming.

            2. Um, Skippy, there is plenty of law, both international and national, stating that draft evasion or desertion in Eritrea almost automatically makes you a refugee, given the draconian conditions of military service there, the shockingly cruel punishments for evasion or desertion, and the additional punishments for (a) leaving the country without a permit (which practically no one gets if they’re draft-eligible, i.e. under 50 and healthy), and (b) for filing an asylum claim outside of Eritrea. You should read some case law before commenting further.

            3. Yes indeedy, a country (like Israel) that is signatory to the refugee convention and protocol is obligated to process claims for asylum and grant refugee status to those who meet the criteria. What exactly did you think the refugee convention was for, anyway? You think giving the Eritreans a little Bamba and hummus will satisfy international law?

            4. You say that Egypt gave refugee status to most Eritreans? You clearly don’t know what refugee status is; you probably have it confused with some temporary collective protection measures. Egypt doesn’t even adjudicate Eritrean claims for asylum, and the UNHCR (look it up) office in Cairo is overwhelmed. I do wonder whether your assertions are based on ignorance, dishonesty, lunacy, or a tasty combination of all three.

            And that’s just for starters. I thank you, Kolumn9 and Trespasser, for being the perfect foils. Some exasperated commenters might want to ban paid trolls like you, but I love the way you give the rest of us opportunities to bring out the truth in all its grisly detail while also making it clear how low and dishonest one must be to support Israel’s more fascist policies.

            I eagerly await your next pearls of wisdom and probity. Ta!

            Reply to Comment
          • The Trespasser

            >I’ve got years of professional experience in refugee and asylum law, including the situation in Eritrea.

            That’s what I thought. In other words, you are directly profiting from refugees. Should be there no refugees at all, you would become unemployed.

            >What are your qualifications? You read something on the back of a cereal box?

            Speaking to “refugees” under conditions where they don’t have to lie to me to get anything from me, and I don’t have to give them refugee status to earn my wages. A honest conversation, something which you probably had never conducted.

            >1. More than 90% of the illegal African immigrants to Israel are from Eritrea and Sudan. Those two countries are recognized throughout the world as oppressive, persecutory regimes that generate millions of refugees.

            Recognized by whom exactly? Refugee workers who are in dire need of new refugees?

            >The fact that an Eritrean refugee might have continued on to Israel – does not mean that the Eritreans aren’t refugees, even if some of them are also motivated by stories of the good life in Israel.

            It does not mean what 100% of Eritreans are entitled to recieve “refugee” status under the terms of international law.

            >Fact is, given what we already know about Eritrea, the Eritreans are more bona fide as refugees than European Jews were in the 1930′s, when nobody knew that the Holocaust was coming.

            Than why is there no UN resolutions condemning Eritrean government?

            A government can not be at the same time legitimate AND generate millions of refugees.

            >there is plenty of law, both international and national, stating that draft evasion or desertion in Eritrea almost automatically makes you a refugee.

            You had just made this up.

            By your logic, any Eritrean between ages 15 and 50 is (almost automatically) a refugee, meaning that Eritrean regime is illegitimate. However there is one major component missing – UN or UNCR resolutions.

            >a country (like Israel) that is signatory to the refugee convention and protocol is obligated to process claims for asylum and grant refugee status to those who meet the criteria.

            Draft dodgers and economical refugees does not meet the criteria.

            >Egypt doesn’t even adjudicate Eritrean claims for asylum

            Which makes sense.

            >and the UNHCR (look it up) office in Cairo is overwhelmed.

            And UNHCR can invest few bucks into expanding so it could serve more “refugees”? Bullshit.

            >I do wonder whether your assertions are based on ignorance, dishonesty, lunacy, or a tasty combination of all three.

            A bit of common sense and 1st hand knowledge, that’s all.

            >Some exasperated commenters might want to ban paid trolls like you

            If you are paid to write lies, it does not mean that other people are paid to debunk them.

            >but I love the way you give the rest of us opportunities to bring out the truth

            The only “truth” brought out so far is that you are benefitting from refugees, and more refugees is better for you.

            >how low and dishonest one must be to support Israel’s more fascist policies.

            Not quite as low and dishonest as someone who generates “refugees” to earn few more dollars.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben Zakkai

            Jeez Trespasser, are you ever right about anything? Taking you apart is so much fun. 1) I’m not a refugee lawyer and my income isn’t dependent on advocating their rights. How much does Hasbara Inc. pay you to comment here? 2) You’re denying what the whole world, including governments, NGOs, courts and the media, have recognized for years about the terrible conditions in Sudan and Eritrea that have generated millions of refugees? Hmm, maybe you’re not a hasbaranik, maybe you’re a sophisticated Palestinian working to discredit Israel by making transparently shameless, dishonest claims on its behalf. 3) Regarding desertion and draft evasion in Eritrea and how they make you eligible for asylum, read for starters recent leading cases from tribunals in the UK, MO (illegal exit – risk on return) Eritrea CG [2011] UKUT 00190 (IAC), and Australia, 1103210 [2011] RRTA 382 (24 May 2011), at the following links:
            http://www.bailii.org/uk/cases/UKUT/IAC/2011/00190_ukut_iac_2011_mo_eritrea_cg.html
            http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/cases/cth/RRTA/2011/382.html
            4) Israel is not required to grant every Eritrean’s claim for asylum, but it is required to hear and adjudicate their claims, which it refuses to do. 5) Refugee rights don’t depend on UN resolutions, but do a Google search and you’ll find many UN resolutions condemning Eritrea — and many condemning Israel, which you no doubt agree with since you put so much stock in UN resolutions.

            Yawn.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben Zakkai

            5) Refugee rights don’t depend on UN resolutions, but do a Google search and you’ll find many UN resolutions condemning Eritrea — and many condemning Israel, which you no doubt agree with since you put so much stock in UN resolutions.

            Yawn.

            Hey 972 people, why do some of my comments get cut off in the middle? Is it because they’re too long, or judged offensive, or is it just a computer bug?

            Reply to Comment
          • The Trespasser

            >I’ve got years of professional experience in refugee and asylum law

            >I’m not a refugee lawyer and my income isn’t dependent on advocating their rights.

            What you certainly are is rather lousy liar.

            >How much does Hasbara Inc. pay you to comment here?

            As I said earlier – absolutely nothing, to my sincere regret.

            >You’re denying what the whole world, including governments, NGOs, courts and the media…

            NGOs and the media have much less than zero credibility in my eyes. Both would lie about just anything to get few more dineros – or to advance their questionable and biased agenda.

            Governments? I’m not aware of any single government which would do or say at least anything regarding “terrible conditions” in mentioned countries. You are free to provide proof, of course.

            Courts? There is an iternational law, in form of treaties and agreements, which are interpreted by courts in one way or anoter. Court in Canada might recognize entire Eritrean population as refugees, but it would not affect their status in Egypt.

            >have recognized for years about the terrible conditions in Sudan and Eritrea that have generated millions of refugees?

            Let’s put Sudan aside for a moment, mind you? As of Eritrea – refugees are generating themselves there due to a loophole in the law:

            A person is under treat only after he/she leaves the country without permit.

            >Hmm, maybe you’re not a hasbaranik, maybe you’re a sophisticated Palestinian working to discredit Israel by making transparently shameless, dishonest claims on its behalf.

            Maybe.

            >Regarding desertion and draft evasion in Eritrea and how they make you eligible for asylum, read for starters recent leading cases from tribunals in the UK, MO …

            Tribunal in UK and elsewhere had decided on something. How did it became a binding international law?

            >Israel is not required to grant every Eritrean’s claim for asylum, but it is required to hear and adjudicate their claims, which it refuses to do.

            Israel had granted ALL Eritreans status of “temporary humanitarian protection group”, therefore it is not obliged to hear separate claims.

            >Refugee rights don’t depend on UN resolutions, but do a Google search and you’ll find many UN resolutions condemning Eritrea

            I could not find UN resolution condemning Eritrea for anything besides it’s support of al-Shabab, last one of which was quite a while ago.

            >and many condemning Israel, which you no doubt agree with since you put so much stock in UN resolutions.

            As irrelevant as any other leftists nonsense.

            >Yawn.

            Take care not to swallow that fly.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben Zakkai

            Sorry, dude, you failed Logic 101 — yes, I have past experience in the asylum field, but not as an advocate for refugees, and I continue to take an interest in the field — so I know the law and the facts. There’s nothing inconsistent about that.

            Sorry you couldn’t find more UN resolutions about Eritrea — try again. While you’re at it, look up US State Dep’t and Canadian Immigration Review Board reports on Eritrea. If you can’t find that stuff on your own …

            International human rights organizations are mostly staffed by very good, caring people who don’t make stuff up. Only Israel boosters (and China fans, Iran lovers, North-Korea-philes etc.) have to force themselves to believe otherwise.

            Yes, Israel (and other signatories to the refugee convention) do have to hear individual asylum claims. Just because some of the shadier, more primitive signatory nations don’t honor that obligation, doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.

            Plus, when lots of other respected, influential countries apply international law in certain ways, that becomes a source of customary international law. So you can’t just sneeze at emerging consensus about Eritrean refugees in the civilized world.

            Yawn (the fly got out).

            Reply to Comment
          • rsgengland

            The vast majority of refugees throughout the world, are economic refugees, whatever type of spin you use to try to obfuscate and blur the issue.
            And why would all these Muslim refugees want to come to a country that you and your ilk constantly call an apartheid state.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben Zakkai

            Who’s blurring and obfuscating? We’re not talking about refugees worldwide, we’re talking about Eritrean refugees in Israel, most of whom are Christian not Muslim by the way. I see you’re getting your information from the same cereal box that Trespasser and Kolumn9 are using. I hope there’s a pretty toy inside for you to play with!

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben Zakkai

            Point 2: Refugees are entitled under the Convention and Protocol to apply for asylum in any country they reach, not just “bordering” countries. To claim otherwise shows absolute ignorance of the law. And, in fact, Ethiopia, Sudan, Egypt, and Israel all largely fail to honor their obligations as signatories and adjudicate Eritrean refugee claims. But the first three countries haven’t fooled the rest of the world into thinking that they respect human rights.

            Reply to Comment
          • Kolumn9

            They can apply for asylum anywhere they want. States that do not border their country of origin have no obligation to grant it to them. Even were a country to grant asylum it is not obligated to grant the asylum seekers a path to residency or citizenship, and it most certainly isn’t obligated to provide with housing in its major cities or any form of employment. For that matter a country can fully respect human rights and create refugee camps far away from its urban areas. As long as the refugee camps are safe and the residents are provided with their daily needs the obligations of the host country will have been met. If shelter and food is not sufficient for the migrants they are perfectly welcome to find a better place elsewhere, but the obligations of the host country have been in full conscience met.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben Zakkai

            Sorry, Kolumn9, if refugees in Israel meet the legal criteria, then they’re entitled to asylum here, no matter where they came from and where they’ve been before. You are correct — I guess you hasbaraniks had to be right about something eventually — when you say that Israeli doesn’t have to grant them citizenship, but you’re wrong again if you think that Israel can deny them work permits and social services and keep them in jail for years, which is what we’re doing. Nice try, though.

            Reply to Comment
      • ohyeah

        They’re being paid to invade Israel. Remove all of them

        Reply to Comment
      • It is immaterial why they came to Israel, save for fleeing oppression. The question is whether they are treated according to Convention once there. If you do not like the refugee Convention, advocate its abrogation.

        Reply to Comment
        • Kolumn9

          According to the Convention Israel is not obligated to provide asylum to economic or even political migrants from a country that it does not border. There might be restrictions on the expulsion of said migrants, but that is about as far as the obligations of the Convention demand.

          Reply to Comment
    3. Kolumn9

      Those Bedouin Arab Muslims are really evil people, aren’t they? Someone should sponsor some non-profits in the Sinai to deal with changing their culture to be more exposed to human rights. I suppose it is partly Israel’s fault for creating a stable, safe, economically developed place to which poor and suffering people from Africa are drawn..

      Reply to Comment
    4. Gor

      Its “ASSAF” NGO (with 2 s’)

      Reply to Comment
    5. Dave Mitchell

      Yes, we all want to live in Israels light ..NOT!

      Reply to Comment
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