For the past four years, asylum seekers and their supporters have demanded that the Holot detention center be shut down. Now it’s finally happening, but not at all how they envisioned. The Israeli government shut down the Holot detention facility, the open-air, desert detention facility built for African asylum seekers, on Wednesday after four years of operation. More than 13,000 asylum seekers were imprisoned in Holot without trial over the course of its operation, as part of the Israeli government’s efforts to force African asylum seekers out of the country. [tmwinpost] The hundreds of asylum seekers who remained in Holot…Read More...
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…Read More...
Even as it invokes the Holocaust at every turn, Israel is feeding the people who most need its protection to a brutal human smuggling industry. In doing so, it becomes an active player in the worst migration crisis since the Jewish people’s near-extinction. Exactly one decade ago, liberal Israelis were boasting of their government’s treatment of the refugees who had recently begun entering the country, largely from Sudan. In the face of the genocide in Darfur, Jewish organizations all over the world had enlisted to move the international community to act. Israelis got on board, motivated by what Haaretz’s Bradley Burston…Read More... | 7 Comments
An Israeli court upholds the government’s policy of indefinitely imprisoning African asylum if they don’t agree to ‘voluntary deportation’ to third countries with no legal status. The xenophobia driving Israel's policy is top-down, but there is another way. By Anat Ovadia-Rosner The Be’er Sheva District Court rejected a petition filed by human rights organizations earlier this month, thereby green lighting the indefinite imprisonment of asylum seekers unless they agree to leave Israel for a third country. The term “voluntary deportation” has always described a dubious state of affairs: people who risked their lives to get to Israel, whom the state…Read More... | 37 Comments
After fleeing Eritrea and being tortured in Egypt, the Israeli government gave Daniel two choices: either voluntarily deport yourself to Rwanda or go to prison. By Sigal Rozen "You see this one? When they'll come to take everybody, this one I'll hide in my home!" told me Yossi, owner of a shop in south Tel Aviv, and one of the leaders of the campaign against the "infiltrators" as he pointed at his employee, Daniel (not his real name). During Knesset hearings, Yossi would talk about the Eritrean infiltrators who get drunk, start fights and leave broken bottles and blood stains…Read More... | 9 Comments
Approximately 600 African asylum seekers were released from Holot on Tuesday morning, following a High Court ruling. But their ban from entering Tel Aviv or Eilat — where much of their community lives — left them feeling helpless and confused. By Oren Ziv / Activestills.org Hassan, a Sudanese asylum seeker, looks on as he stands outside Holot detention center, where he has been held for the past 20 months. Tuesday was supposed to be a happy day for him — the day he was being released following a High Court ruling two weeks ago. But the decision by Interior Minister…Read More...
Six ways the Israeli government is intentionally making the lives of asylum seekers unbearable. By Elizabeth Tsurkov Since 2008, the Israeli government has been implementing several policies whose purpose is to make the lives of African asylum seekers miserable, in the words of former Israeli Minister of Interior, and to coerce them to leave Israel. Both Israeli and international law prohibits the state from deporting asylum seekers to their countries of origin, leading Israel to adopt the following policies that would compel asylum seekers to leave without forcibly deportation: [tmwinpost] 1. Denial of basic rights: Since 2008, asylum seekers who…Read More... | 18 Comments
Israel's leaders are proud of themselves for deporting asylum seekers, while the state continues to trample over their rights and deceive them. What have we come to? By Moran Mekamel On Tuesday, it was announced that the government is planning to forcibly deport Eritrean and Sudanese asylum seekers to "third countries." Those who refuse to leave will be jailed in Saharonim prison for an indefinite amount of time. This latest step is not wrapped in pretty words such as "returning by choice" or "benefit packages," whose goal is to cover up the government-sponsored horror show taking place here. Those behind the…Read More... | 13 Comments
In the past week or so, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu repeated a couple of talking points that diverged from the truth, but few people called him out on it. 1. In a meeting with the Jewish Federations of North America in New York last Tuesday, the prime minister fielded a question regarding the state's practice of sending asylum seekers to detention facilities in the desert, sometimes for unlimited periods of time. This has been the first time the prime minister commented since a recent ruling by the High Court that ordered the detainees to be released. "There is no asylum…Read More... | 26 Comments
Nearly 1,000 African asylum seekers walked out of Israel's 'open' detention facility last week, saying they were headed to a strip of UN-controlled territory along the Egyptian border. This is the story of their march -- full of hopes, determination and desperation. Encampment air hangs hot and still. Under a dry canopy of Eucalyptus it swaddles the crowds of Sudnese and Eritrean asylum seekers who make temporary beds here, some 300 meters from the Israeli-Egyptian border. Hassan Abdaiiah Adam, a 30-year-old asylum seeker from Darfur, passes thick fingers over the yellow whistle that he wears around his neck. He has…Read More...
Over the past several years, Israel’s Ministry of Justice has found itself a new angle for engaging in public diplomacy: defending some of the worst pieces of Knesset legislation, while celebrating whatever outcome the court hands down when they are challenged. By Hagai El-Ad Human rights are neither a theoretical concept nor a distant vision: for human beings, human rights are either a foundation for a just life – or, more often, humans are deprived of them. In such realities, the enumeration of rights becomes an enumeration of grievances. For human rights organizations, that enumeration of grievances becomes a workplan.…Read More... | 8 Comments
This week: solidarity with asylum seekers, animal rights activism, denouncing against attacks on transgender people, return of Palestinian militants' remains, tear gas in Aida Camp, military training in the Jordan Valley, Palestinian steadfastness in Khirbet Makhoul, protests against medical privatization, and weekly demonstrations against the occupation.Read More... | 2 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
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