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Eritrean refugees

  • In limbo, asylum seekers await government's next move

    In the absence of a UN deal and with the collapse of Israel's mass deportation plan, African asylum seekers again face an uncertain future. The roughly 38,000 asylum seekers living in Israel, most of whom fled Eritrea and Sudan, again face an uncertain future. The Israeli government’s mass deportation plan collapsed last week after the government failed to broker a deal with a “third country” that would resettle refugees deported against their will. Earlier in April, Prime Minister Netanyahu announced a deal with the UN to resolve the refugee issue, only to scrap it less than 24 hours later. [tmwinpost]…

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  • In another blow to deportation plan, Israel frees jailed asylum seekers

    Israel frees 200 asylum seekers imprisoned for refusing deportation after the government admits there is no secret agreement with Uganda that allows for the mass deportation of refugees. Israel released 207 Eritrean and Sudanese asylum seekers on Sunday, all of whom had been indefinitely imprisoned for refusing deportation to Uganda or Rwanda. Israel’s High Court ruled last Tuesday that the government had until Sunday at noon to present a new agreement with Uganda that would allow the mass deportation of refugees to proceed. [tmwinpost] In the absence of an agreement, the Court ordered the government to release all asylum seekers…

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  • Hundreds around the world protest Israel's plan to deport refugees to Uganda

    Demonstrators gather in Tel Aviv and in front Ugandan embassies in cities around the world to protest Israel's plan to deport tens of thousands of Eritrean and Sudanese asylum seekers to Uganda.  Asylum seekers and activists protested in Tel Aviv and outside Ugandan embassies around the world on Monday against Israel's plan to deport tens of thousands of asylum seekers there. After international pressure led Rwanda to back out of a secret agreement to accept asylum seekers deported from Israel, Israel now claims it has an identical agreement with Uganda. [tmwinpost] The demonstrations come just one week after the Israeli government announced it was abandoning its…

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  • Deal or no deal, the anti-deportation campaign can claim victory

    One day after proudly announcing a UN agreement to resettle 16,000 asylum seekers, Netanyahu cancels the agreement due to criticism from the Right. And yet, the anti-deportation campaign can claim a victory. Benjamin Netanyahu is in trouble. With his announcement of the UN agreement regarding the African asylum seekers yesterday, and his announcement several hours later that the agreement had been suspended, Netanyahu made one thing clear: the Left's anti-deportation campaign had won. [tmwinpost] Deporting the asylum seekers to a “third country” in Africa is off the table. The only available option to alleviate the suffering of the asylum seekers and…

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  • Hundreds of asylum seekers in Israel to spend Passover behind bars

    High Court extends an injunction against the planned mass deportation of African asylum seekers, but those already locked up for refusing deportation will spend the 'festival of freedom' in prison.  Hundreds of African asylum seekers will remain in Israeli prisons this Passover, their fate on hold after the country’s High Court gave the government an extension — for the third time — to respond to a petition challenging the mass deportation of asylum seekers originally planned to start this Friday. [tmwinpost] The court issued an injunction on March 15 against the deportations themselves, but Israeli authorities are still permitted to…

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  • Injunction poses first major hurdle to deportation plan

    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. [tmwinpost] While…

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  • Hundreds of asylum seekers march to desert prison to protest deportations

    Hundreds held in Israel's desert detention facility march to nearby Saharonim Prison after seven asylum seekers were transferred and imprisoned there indefinitely — for refusing to leave the country.  By Oren Ziv / Activestills.org Hundreds of asylum seekers detained in Holot, Israel’s desert detention facility for African asylum seekers, marched to nearby Saharonim Prison on Thursday after seven asylum seekers were imprisoned there for refusing to be sent an unnamed country in Africa, widely presumed to be Rwanda, as part of a “voluntary” deportation program. The demonstrators chanted “We are refugees not criminals,” “We are human beings,” “Bring back our brothers,” “Stop the…

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  • 'They told me to go to a third country. I won't go. I'll go to jail.'

    Israel begins issuing deportation notices to African asylum seekers: leave the country within two months, or face indefinite imprisonment.  By Oren Ziv Two hundred of them arrived in the early morning hours on Sunday, gathering in an industrial area in the mostly ultra-Orthodox city of Bnei Brak, just outside of Tel Aviv. They arrived on foot from the main road, or by costly taxis. Now, they stand in a parking lot, amidst parked trucks and piles of garbage. They are here, outside the Interior Ministry’s main office, to submit asylum requests or renew their visas, which the Israeli government requires…

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  • 10 must-read articles for World Refugee Day

    A selection of articles and stories about asylum seekers and refugees in Israel on the occasion of World Refugee Day. (Full disclosure, I couldn't include just 10) It has been more than a decade since refugees from Darfur first began making the dangerous journey across the Sinai desert in order to seek asylum in Israel. Since those early years, Israeli society and successive Israeli governments have become increasingly hostile toward the asylum seekers from Sudan, Eritrea and elsewhere who sought safety and dignity in the country. On the occasion of World Refugee Day, here is a selection of articles about…

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  • Israelis, treat us as humans — at least until we can go home

    The Israeli government continues to pass discriminatory laws against African asylum seekers, turning the Israeli public against us. But how could it be that Jews have forgotten the word 'refugee?'  By Monim Haroon A new law that went into effect starting on May 1 stipulates that the state will take 20 percent of asylum seekers' monthly salaries, and 16 percent from our employers, putting the money into a fund that will only become available to us the moment we board a plane that flies us away from Israel. If we refuse to leave the country, the Administration of Border Crossings, Population and…

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  • Activists alter sign at entrance to Jerusalem: ‘Welcome Refugees’

    Drivers entering Jerusalem this week were greeted by an unusual message, which activists hope will jump-start a public discussion about the Israeli government's treatment of refugees. By Raanan Shemesh Forshner A group of activists from Jerusalem altered the official sign at the entrance to the city this week so that anyone driving in saw an unusual message: “Welcome refugees.” The addition of “refugees” was removed after a few hours. [tmwinpost] “We felt like we had to do something for the wellbeing of asylum seekers,” the activists explained. “Dozens of asylum seekers have been killed on Israel’s southern border in recent weeks,”…

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  • ISIS executes three asylum seekers deported by Israel

    Video by extremist Sunni group shows execution of three Eritrean asylum seekers coerced into leaving Israel last year. At least three Eritrean asylum seekers who lived in Israel and were deported to a third country were executed by Islamic State militants in Libya this past week, according to family and friends who recognized them in a video released by the extremist Sunni group. The Hotline for Refugees and Migrants is checking the possibility that additional Eritreans deported by Israel were also executed. [tmwinpost] "I recognized my relative, T., from the photos published by ISIS that appeared on Facebook before the…

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  • PHOTOS: Right-wing activists disrupt Eritrean mourners

    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…

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