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African Refugees and Asylum Seekers in Israel - Essay Example

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African Refugees and Asylum Seekers in Israel

The Refugee Rights Forum, an aggregation of eight NGOs in the country believes that the number can reach 17,000. All of these have fled their countries due to vicious wars. Darfur is the setting of a violent internal strife in Sudan while Eritrea and Ethiopia are engaged in an armed conflict. Israel’s initial response was to grant refugee status to some 600 Sudanese. On the other hand, around 2,000 refugees from Eritrea and Ethiopia were given temporary residence based on humanitarian grounds. The Israeli government believes that granting them refugee status might strain relations with both Ethiopia and Eritrea. The rest of the immigrants continue to live as illegal aliens, which means that they do not enjoy the basic rights and privileges afforded to the citizens and recognized refugees in the country. According to the 1951 International Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, a refuge is a person who… “owing to well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality and is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country”. By this international convention, anyone who is granted a refugee status gains rights and privileges according to international convention and the laws of the host of country....
After being imprisoned for a year, they were released and were allowed to stay in the kibbutzim as suggested by the UNHCR and the NGO Hotline for Migrant Workers.3 This was the first of a series of acts that displayed Israel's opposition to further entry. At the end of the year, a violent dispersal of a demonstration by Sudanese asylum seekers in Egypt, in which dozens were killed, resulted into an increase of refugee entry into Israel. The country responded by reviving and enforcing a 50's law, the Prevention of Infiltration Law in the early part of 2006. A wave of arrests followed shortly, putting many Sudanese asylum seekers behind bars without the benefit of a quasi-judicial review. Since then, all those arrested under the Prevention of Infiltration have been held in the Ketsiot prison without their cases heard. Several NGO's had petitioned the High Court of Justice to put a stop on the use of such law by Israeli authorities.4
The following years saw more attempts of refugees to enter Israel via the border with Egypt. With the state's strict enforcement of the Prevention of Infiltration Law, refugees were systematically arrested. Many were forcibly sent back to Egypt under a process called 'hot return'. The refugees only experienced worse human rights abuses in the hands of the Egyptian authorities. Several sympathetic local governments with the help of NGOs briefly accommodated those that remained, specially the Eritreans. However, in 2007, the Ministry of Interior implemented measures took away the rights of the refugees and asylum seekers in getting employment. Many were still tracked for 'hot return' and were temporarily detained while waiting to be sent forcibly to the Egyptian border. Despite protests from the ...Show more


As the number of refugees and asylum seekers grow, it is observed that Israel has also begun changing its attitude towards the issue. In 2005, nearly a hundred Sudanese from Darfur were apprehended and detained under the Entry to Israel Law. …
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African Refugees and Asylum Seekers in Israel essay example
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