HRCE’s Statement on the African Asylum Seekers in Israel

Human Rights Concern – Eritrea, condemns the brutal handling of the African asylum-seekers by the Israel Police on Sunday 29 June 2014.

On Friday 27 June, the asylum seekers walked out of Holot detention center in protest of their illegal detention and headed towards the Egyptian border, aiming to cross the border to Egypt and hoping to seek help from the UNHCR. Unfortunately, they were blocked from crossing and finally decided to settle in Nitzana forest, about three hundred meters distance from the border.

On Sunday evening, the Israeli Police tried to persuade them to board on the buses and go back to Holot. They refused to board, and immediately clashes with the Police started. The Police were recorded using disproportionate use of force and restraint techniques. Due to the Police brutality, some were unconscious and many injured. Some received medical help from Doctors for Human Rights at the scene. They were then all forcibly put on the buses and taken to Saharonim prison.

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 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 recognized as a basic human right, and as a 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:

– Release all the asylum seekers from Saharonim prison;
– 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 in dealing with pending asylum claims, to prevent asylum-seekers’ legal stay.

Please email and fax your appeal to:

Mr Benjamin Netanyahu,

Prime Minister of Israel,
Fax: 00-972-26546717

Mr 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,

Mr Ban Ki-moon
The UN Secretary General
Via E-mail:

António Guterres
The UNHCR Commissioner for Refugees, Antonio Guterres