African Asylum Seekers in Israel Strike/Protest Against Israel’s Unjust New Immigration Law and Policy

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Eritrean RefugeesLondon (5 January 2013): Human Rights Concern – Eritrea (HRCE) stands in solidarity with our African brothers and sisters who are currently holding a protest against Israel’s unjust new immigration law and policy.

On 10th December 2013, the Knesset passed a revised law for detention of African asylum seekers.
According to the new law, anybody crossing Israel’s border without a permit will be detained for a year and then transferred to an “open facility” that resembles a prison. The facility, which is located in a remote area in the desert, is managed by the Prison Authority, and all residents have to report
for roll call three times a day, essentially making it  impossible to leave. Since the facility is not officially considered a prison, there is no judicial oversight and migrants can be kept there without any time limit.

There are about 53,000 African asylum-seekers in Israel and the greatest number of these are Eritreans. The Eritrean asylum-seekers came to Israel to seek refuge from a brutal regime and many had horrific experiences of torture at the hands of human traffickers in the Sinai Desert.  Such refugees are entitled to freedom from  such persecution as involuntary confinement.

Israel has ratified the 1951 UN Refugee Convention (and its 1967 Protocol), as well as the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. The nation is therefore under an international obligation to grant refugees and asylum seekers the rights that are due to them.

According to Article 14 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the right to seek and enjoy asylum is recognised as a basic human right, and as signatory to the Convention, the  state of Israel should fulfil its obligation.

Please join HRCE in condemning the inhuman treatment of the African asylum seekers in Israel, by writing to the Israeli authorities urging them to:

•    review their inhuman asylum laws and policies;
•    stop detaining asylum seekers as criminals;
•    release asylum seekers from detention;
•    treat asylum-seekers with dignity and respect;
•    cease the rounding-up of asylum seekers from the streets and homes, and;
•    end the systematic delay of renewing asylum-seekers immigration documents in order  to prevent illegal stay.

Please email and  fax your appeal to:

Mr Benjamin Netanyahu,
Prime Minister of Israel,
Fax: 00-972-26546717

Gideon Sa’ar
Minister of Interior
Fax: +972-26496578

Ms Tzipi Livni
Minister of Justice
Fax: +972-26496545

Mr Moshe Ya’alon
Minister of Defense
Fax: +972-36962757

Ms Sofa Landver
Minister of Immigrant Absorption
Fax: +972- 25669244,

The UN Secretary General
Via E-mail:

António Guterres
The UNHCR Commissioner for Refugees, Antonio Guterres