Israel announces deportation plan for tens of thousands of African asylum-seekers
- Some 40,000 African asylum-seekers—many activists and other dissidents from Sudan and Eritrea—are facing expulsion or imprisonment in Israel, with fewer than 1% of applicants having been granted refugee status.
- The Israeli government announced that asylum-seekers will have 90 days to accept $3,500 and a plane ticket to a classified third country (speculated to be Rwanda or Uganda) or face incarceration.
- In response, a network of more than a hundred rabbis called the Anne Frank Home Sanctuary Movement has formed and pledged to protect asylum-seekers from deportation.
“Israel to tell African migrants: leave or face indefinite imprisonment” (The Guardian | January 2018)
“Mass expulsion under way as Israel begins deporting 40,000 Africans” (Middle East Eye | January 2018)
“Inspired by Anne Frank, Rabbis in Israel Plan to Hide African Asylum Seekers Facing Deportation” (Haaretz | January 2018)
“Inside Israel’s Secret Program to Get Rid of African Refugees” (Foreign Policy | June 2017)
The Hotline for Refugees and Migrants
Refugees and immigrants traveling to U.S. reportedly stopped at airports following executive order
- President Donald Trump issued an executive order halting refugee resettlement in the U.S. for 120 days.
- The order also creates a 90-day suspension of visas for nationals from”countries of concern,” expected to include Muslim-majority countries with little to no connection to Trump’s business interests including Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen.
- The suspended visas and refugee ban have led to the detention of and refusal of passage to immigrant airport travelers.
Full Executive Order Text: Trump’s Action Limiting Refugees Into the U.S. (via The New York Times)
(Image Credit: via Politico)
As many as 500 may have died in migrant boat sinking in Mediterranean
- The U.N. refugee agency indicated as many as 500 may have died after a boat carrying mostly African migrants and refugees capsized between Libya and Italy, according to interviews with 41 survivors.
- If verified, the incident would be the largest migrant tragedy on record since the April 2015 sinking that killed more than 800 migrants.
- Smugglers have returned to dangerous trans-Mediterranean routes between Libya and Italy following a recent deal between the E.U. and Turkey to stem migration in the eastern Mediterranean.
“Survivors report massive loss of life in latest Mediterranean Sea tragedy” (U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees press release)
“Hundreds feared dead in migrant shipwreck off Libya” (The Guardian)
“500 May Have Died in Sinking of Migrant Boat in Mediterranean, U.N. Says” (The New York Times)
(Image Credit: Nikitas Kotsiaris/EPA, via The New York Times)
More than a dozen Sudanese refugees killed by Egyptian security forces
- At least 15 Sudanese refugees were killed and eight wounded attempting to enter Israel from the Sinai peninsula.
- Egyptian officials first said the refugees were shot attempting to reach the southern border of Israel, but later revised their account to say they were caught in the crossfire between security forces and smugglers.
- The incident is one of the most violent involving Sudanese refugees since 2005 and comes as the refugees face crackdowns by Egyptian police, exploitation and abuse by smugglers, and detention and deportation in Israel.
“Sudanese refugees shot dead on Egypt-Israel border” (Al Jazeera)
“15 Sudanese Asylum Seekers Shot to Death by Egyptian Police While Trying to Cross to Israel” (AP via Haaretz)
Protests erupt in Tel Aviv following Supreme Court decision limiting migrant detentions to 12 months
- After the court ruling that calls for the immediate release of around 1,200 migrants detained without charge, some Tel Aviv residents took to the streets in outrage.
- Demonstrators claimed asylum seekers bring down their quality of life with crime and open-air living.
- Protesters confronted some migrants around Lewinsky Park, yelling insults and condemning the Supreme Court.
“What’s going to happen in reality is that thousands of infiltrators are going to come here and make our lives hell, even more than they are now. … We are going to fight this with all our strength.”
Read the full story at Ynet News.
Israel Supreme Court limits detention of migrants without charge to a year
- The ruling struck down a portion of the Infiltration Prevention Act that allowed for migrants to be detained for up to 20 months.
- Among the more than 2,500 migrants detained at the Holot detention facility in the Negev, those who have been detained without charge for 12 months or more are to be released in the next 15 days.
- Israel refers to illegal migrants as “infiltrators” and since 2009 has granted asylum requests–mostly from Eritreans, Sudanese, and Congolese–to fewer than 0.15% of those who applied.
“The court made it clear that a policy whose purpose is to break asylum-seekers’ spirit to coerce them to leave Israel is unconstitutional. The judges also criticized the slow pace of examining asylum claims and the abysmally low recognition rate of refugees in Israel.”
Read the full story at the Times of Israel.
(Image Credit: Flash90, via The Times of Israel)