HRW: Israel is effectively detaining Africa asylum-seekers

[JURIST] Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] released a report [press release] Wednesday claiming that Israel's new detention facility violates an order of the Supreme Court of Israel [official website], which ruled [JURIST report] in September that the detention of undocumented immigrants for up to three years without trial was unconstitutional. In response, the Israeli Cabinet [official website] adopted an amendment to the Law for the Prevention of Infiltration [text, PDF] last month, permitting the state to detain undocumented immigrants for up to one year in "open" detention centers that will only be locked at night, and further requires undocumented immigrants detained at the center to register three times per day and prohibits them from seeking employment. The Holot Center for Residents, constructed in the Negev desert south of Jerusalem, was established as the first of these open detention centers [Times of Israel report]. HRW senior refugee researcher said of refugees at Holot:

“If you are forced to live in the middle of the desert, your every move watched by armed guards, able only to visit a town an hour away and then return almost immediately to meet reporting deadlines, then you are not a free person, you are detained.”
Simpson called on Israeli officials to stop defying its international obligations, to release asylum seekers and seriously examine their claims.

The issue of undocumented immigration [JURIST backgrounder, JURIST news archive] has been a controversial issue throughout the world. Last month HRW and Seton Hall University School of Law [academic website] released a report documenting the extreme hardships [JURIST report] suffered by asylum seekers in the US due to its immigration policies. In October UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon [official profile; JURIST news archive] urged the international community to adopt new approaches to migration [JURIST report], focusing on the vulnerability and human rights of migrants. In February JURIST Guest Columnist Victoria Neilson of Immigration Equality argued [JURIST op-ed] that truly comprehensive immigration reform in the US must go further in addressing LGBT issues.

 

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