Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Israel's war against migrants

They are "a cancer in our body", and "a threat to the social fabric of society…national security [and the] identity and existence [of the] Jewish and democratic state". As "infiltrators", they should be "encouraged…to leave" and "locked…up to make their lives miserable". These are the words of Israeli Parliamentarian Miri Regev, Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and of the current and former Israeli Interior Ministers Eli Yishai and Gideon Saar, described by the UN refugee agency as "xenophobic statements made by…public officials who…stigmatise asylum seekers."  Israeli authorities know that they can't deport Eritreans and Sudanese to their home countries because of serious human rights concerns in both countries, not to mention that Sudan's relations with Israel are so bad that it considers people who flee there to be criminals. Yet the authorities have done everything they can to make their lives so unbearable that they leave.

 Since January 2013 - six months after Israel introduced an unlawful policy of indefinitely detaining as many "infiltrators" as possible to coerce them into leaving - almost 7,000 people, mostly Sudanese, have buckled under the pressure and returned home. Another 44,000 Eritreans and Sudanese in Israel's cities live in constant fear of receiving orders to report to a remote desert detention centre near the Egyptian border where, the authorities say, they will be confined until they also agree to leave the country.

 Four out of every five Eritrean asylum seekers worldwide last year were recognised as refugees, while by the end of June, Israel had only recognised just two Eritreans as refugees. Israel has also rejected 100 percent of Sudanese asylum claims, though globally 67 percent of Sudanese asylum seekers are given some form of protection.

From here

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