The temporary injunction against the government’s plan will remain in effect for at least another week and a half. But the mass deportations are still scheduled to begin on April 1.
Israel’s top court issued a temporary injunction against the mass deportation of tens of thousands of African asylum seekers on Thursday.
The decision came in a response to the first major legal challenge to Israel’s deportation plan, and will stay in effect at least another week and a half. If the state’s response satisfies the High Court, however, the deportations could still begin on schedule — April 1.
While the injunction forbids the deportation of asylum seekers as long as it is in effect, the government will continue to conduct hearings for asylum seekers in preparation of the mass deportations. Additionally, the government will not send additional asylum seekers who refuse “voluntary departure” to Saharonim Prison. Asylum seekers currently imprisoned in Saharonim will not be released.
At a hearing earlier this week the justices appeared at least a little perturbed by Rwanda’s denial that the agreement exists, and particularly what that means for deportees’ access to legal remedy if they are denied the protections it is supposed to provide them.The High Court of Justice already approved an earlier version of the deportation plan, which is based on an agreement between Israel and Rwanda — which Israel insists must remain secret and Rwanda denies even exists.
Israel claims that Sudanese and Eritrean asylum seekers who agree to go to a “third country,” known to be Rwanda and Uganda, will be able to live and work there legally. A +972 Magazine investigation earlier this year in Rwanda and Uganda, where most asylum seekers deported by Israel have been sent thus far, found that not only are they denied legal status but they are often pushed out of the country within days of arrival.
The treatment of African asylum seekers became one of the most serious points of contention between the Israeli government and the Supreme Court in recent years, a conflict that has at times threatened Israel’s informal system of checks and balances.
The court has struck down several different versions of a law used to indefinitely detain African asylum seekers. Each time, however, the government came back with slightly softened legislation that nevertheless accomplished the same policy goal — the imprisonment of African asylum...Read More