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
The Global Effort to Rescue Persecuted Atheists
Source: Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason & Science/YouTube (September 2016)
With more than a dozen countries criminalizing atheistic expression and anti-atheist sentiment widespread even in purportedly secular countries, organizations have popped up around the globe to rescue persecuted atheists, lobby for civil rights, and promote community and security for atheists, agnostics, and other freethinkers. Secular Rescue was launched by the Center for Inquiry in 2016 in response to the recent spate of murders of secularist Bangladeshi writers and intellectuals, and its efforts have drawn attention to the plight of freethinkers living in the Global South in need of asylum. The Atlantic recently profiled the organization as well as the conditions contributing to the greater visibility of atheists in regions conventionally assumed to be inhospitable to the growth of secularism and freethought.
“The ‘Underground Railroad’ To Save Atheists” (The Atlantic | January 2018)
“Center for Inquiry Launches ‘Secular Rescue’ to Save Lives of Threatened Activists” (The Center for Inquiry | September 2016)
Atheist Asylum Program
The Administrative Precarity of Syrian Refugees in Lebanon
Syrians who have fled to Lebanon to escape the violence that has embroiled their home nation have begun putting down new roots while waiting for the conflict to end. However, cultural and administrative differences have left many Syrians in limbo as practices surrounding institutions like marriage remain unrecognized in their new, if temporary, home. Lebanon’s complex and financially taxing requirements of civil registration (including residency, marriage, and births) has disenfranchised many Syrians, leaving them in legally precarious situations even as the government works to lessen the burdens.
Undocumented children are denied access to IDs and passports, and parents and other couples lacking official work permits find themselves trapped in exploitative labor conditions to support their families. The financial vulnerability of Syrian families is driving intergenerational insecurity, particularly as it has led to an increase in child marriage rates in the country. Reuters examines the complex bureaucratic and cultural conditions shaping the marginalization of Syrian families in Lebanon.
“As Syrian couples say ‘I do,’ Lebanon says ‘No, not quite’” (Reuters | December 2017)
“For Syrian refugees, child marriage robs a generation of its future” (The Globe and Mail | March 2017)
Palestinians imprisoned in Israeli facilities win increased visitation rights following hunger strike
- Incarcerated Palestinians were granted a second visitation day per month following a 41-day hunger strike in the lead up to Ramadan and the 50th anniversary of Israel’s seizure of the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
- Nearly 1,000 protesters took part in the strike, which ended following a deal struck by Israeli prison officials, the Palestinian Authority, and the International Committee of the Red Cross.
- More than 6,000 Palestinians are incarcerated in Israeli prisons for offenses ranging from throwing stones to murder.
“Mass Palestinian hunger strike in Israeli jails ends after visitation deal” (The Guardian | May 2017)
“Palestinian Prisoners End Hunger Strike in Israel After 40 Days” (The New York Times | May 2017)
“Palestinian prisoners end hunger strike, Israel says it met none of their demands” (The Times of Israel | May 2017)
(Image Credit: Mohamad Torokman/Reuters, via The New York Times)
Christmas for the Vulnerable Christians of the World
Source: Al Jazeera YouTube
One of the most important days in the Christian holiday canon, Christmas is celebrated by the devout, the lapsed, and the unbelieving alike as a time of gift-giving, decorating, and shared cheer. However, many of the worlds Christians, minorities in their communities, continue to face persecution as religious-extremist, nationalist, and other reactionary forces gain footholds around the world. From Indonesia to Egypt, religiously diverse societies have experienced increased sectarian tensions as parallel forces—anti-Christian sentiment and Islamophobia—have disrupted what was once stable co-existence. This roundup takes a look at recent developments in the plight faced by some of the most vulnerable Christians around the world. Continue reading Global Event | Christmas
Appointment of man as Lebanon’s first women’s affairs minister sparks outrage
- The appointment of Jean Ogasapian to the new post in Prime Minister Saad Al-Hariri’s newly formed government drew widespread condemnation from women’s rights leaders and organizations, a further injury on top of the appointment of only one woman to the 30-member government.
- The stakes are high as advocates work to combat high levels of domestic violence and discriminatory citizenship laws that deny women the power to pass citizenship on to their children upon marrying non-citizens.
- Social media derision has given way to calls for protests against an appointment viewed as illegitimate and in line with the establishment of a cabinet built through nepotism and loyalism rather than competence.
“Lebanon protests urged after man picked as first women’s affairs minister” (The Guardian)
“Lebanon appoints man as first ever women’s affairs minister” (The Independent)
“Lebanon’s first minister for women is a man” (The Washington Post)
(Image Credit: Handout/Reuters, via The Guardian)
Saudi transman speaks out at conference as Saudi Arabia reportedly mulls ban on trans pilgrims
- Salman Al-Dukheil spoke at Trust Women, a London-based international conference on women’s rights and human trafficking, about his experience as a Saudi transman whose life has been split between Saudi Arabia and the U.S.
- Conflicting media reports have indicated that the Saudi government may be considering a ban on transgender pilgrims for Umrah, a pilgrimage to Mecca that, unlike the Hajj, can be undertaken at any time during the year.
- While there is no official law against transgender identity, police have arrested people for cross-dressing and, for men, effeminate behavior.
“Saudi plan to bar transgender persons from performing Umrah is un-Islamic: Ghamidi” (The Express Tribune)
“Transgender Saudi man speaks out publicly for first time to help others” (The Thomson Reuters Foundation)
Trust Women: Salman Al-Dukheil