lunedì 30 gennaio 2012

Sweden to receive 1,900 quota refugees in 2012

Sweden to receive 1,900 quota refugees in 2012 Published: 30 Jan 12 15:01 CET | Double click on a word to get a translation Share 7 Sweden plans to give priority to refugees from Somalia and Eritrea in its efforts to resettle 1,900 United Nations (UN) refugees in 2012. Average Swede likes sweets, booze, and TV (19 Jan 12) 'In a networked world, Sweden may be more powerful than the US' (10 Jan 12) Somalis 'shut out' of Sweden's health system (28 Dec 11) ”We are really happy, of course, that we can offer 1,900 places again this year,” said Christina Werner, the CEO of the Migration Board (Migrationsverket) to TT news agency. Each year, the Riksdag allocates funding allowing the agency to bring between 1,700 and 1,900 refugees to Sweden under the UN’s quota programme. Just like the previous two years, the agency will focus mainly on the areas of conflict on the Horn of Africa – but also people who are escaping unrest in north Africa. The majority are Somalis fleeing to Kenya and Djibouti, but also Eritrean and Ethiopian citizens who are now in Sudan. Sweden has cooperated with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) since 1950 regarding refugee quotas. This year Sweden allocated 250 places for people who are forced to flee from fast emerging conflicts. This is a resource that will only be used when necessary, and has come about since the UNHCR increased the need for quick-relief efforts. 350 places were set aside for other emergency measures. Werner pointed out that Sweden is the biggest recipient of refugees in Europe, and that the refugees are often forced to live for long times under appalling physical conditions and mentally desperate circumstances. “It is people who have been in refugee camps for more or less long periods of time and who don’t have the chance to get out in any other way,” she said. In terms of the novelty of the 250 places reserved for those affected by so called ‘flare-up’ conflicts, Werner points out that it allows Sweden flexibility in the areas where the refugees come from. “We won’t need to be locked to specific locations, but we can act in the areas where UNHCR say are in need of the most help,” she said.

mercoledì 25 gennaio 2012

martedì 24 gennaio 2012

Inchiesta della TV Svizzera sul mancato soccorso in Mare da parte della NATO


Mare deserto

di Emiliano Bos e Paul Nicol
Fine marzo 2011. In Libia è appena iniziato l’intervento militare voluto dall’Onu a sostegno dei ribelli anti-Gheddafi. I migranti fuggono dalla guerra. Un barcone - uno dei tanti – salpa da Tripoli verso Lampedusa. Ma non ci arriverà mai, perché il carburante finisce prima. Nessuno li avvista. Com’è possibile, visto che in quel momento il Mediterraneo pullula di navi e velivoli militari, della Nato ma non solo? Un elicottero militare getta ai profughi bottiglie d’acqua e un po’ di biscotti. Poi se va e non torna a soccorrerli. Perché? Il gommone resta incredibilmente alla deriva per 15 giorni nel Canale di Sicilia, incrociando almeno un paio di grandi imbarcazioni militari e pescherecci. Dei 72 a bordo, moriranno in 63. Falò ha rintracciato tutti i 9 superstiti, tra Italia, Tunisia e Norvegia. Ha ascoltato le loro testimonianze. Ha raccolto documenti. E ha costretto la Nato – che per mesi ha negato ogni coinvolgimento - ad ammettere di aver ricevuto una chiamata d’allarme. Ora sulla tragedia indaga il Consiglio d’Europa.

    http://la1.rsi.ch/_dossiers/player.cfm?uuid=7e867bda-549b-4d7c-8082-800f6eea8a7a

    mercoledì 18 gennaio 2012

    Saudi Arabia : Shocking News please Urgent action is needed‏


    From the Office of Abune Berhaneyesus Souraphiel C.M, ArciEparchy of Addis Abeba: Fw: Shocking News please Urgent action is needed‏


    To Whom It May Concern;

    We are concerned Ethiopians in Diaspora, who closely follow our detained 35 Ethiopians in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia while they were gathering in a home to celebrate Christmas in December 2011, which is allowed according to the law of the country. From these innocent prisoners, 29 of them are women who some of them left their children in their home.

    We hope that you heard the news which is spread all over the world through different mass media including VOA Amharic Service on Jan 12, 2012. Our Ethiopian brothers and sisters are beaten and suffocated in a tiny space (10mx5m) together with 400 other prisoners without enough food and medical attention. For this reason many of them are sick and three people died. They are forced to stand or sleep on the top of other prisoners by taking turns. Above all, our sisters were humiliated and abused to the extent that they felt being raped as a religious police was allowed to put her hand in their private parts using a single glove to all of them without changing the glove that they couldn’t handle the situation but rather to die. All their crime is being Christians and celebrating Christmas in their home without breaking the country’s law.

    To defy these types of cruel activities, we sincerely urge the international community to remind the government of Saudi Arabia of this crime on humanity, to respect international law, and to comply with its own national law. We urge all international humanitarian bodies to save our brothers and sisters by providing necessities and medical support.

    To stand for humanity means to stand for ourselves!!

    To Ethiopian government
    All concerned Ethiopians in Diaspora.

    Polizia Sudanese coinvolti nel traffico di profughi Eritrei


    Polizia Sudanese coinvolti nel traffico di profughi Eritrei :- Ieri sera alle 21.00 ho ricevuto da 13 giovani ragazzi, ora in ostaggio nel Sinai, ma la cosa gravissima che questi ragazzi hanno raccontato circa un mese fa di essere stati venduti ai trafficanti di etnia Rashayda dalla polizia sudanese. 
    Questi ragazzi una volta varcato il confine eritreo-sudanese, si sono consegnati loro stessi alla polizia sudanese sperando di trovare protezione, successivamente la polizia doveva accompagnarli al campo profughi di Sheghrab come da prassi, questo credevano questi ragazzi. Invece la polizia di frontiera che si trova nella località chiamata Hafir (Kassela) gli ha venduti ai trafficanti a questi Rashayda, i quali gli hanno rivenduti ai predoni del Sinai, dove ora sono in ostaggio da un mese, gli viene chiesta per la loro liberazione $25 mila a testa. Altri casi il 12 gennaio 2012 alle ore 15.50 ho ricevuto una disperata richiesta di aiuto da una donna che si trova prigioniera dei trafficanti, insieme con lei ci sono altre 20 donne di cui 5 sono con figli quindi ci sono 6 bambini e 12 maschi adulti, gli uomini sono bendati e legati con catene mani e piedi, le donne in catene solo ai piedi. La donna che ha chiamato per chiedere aiuto, parla delle continue maltrattamenti, privazione di cibo, e violenze. Altri gruppi di ostaggi parlano di abusi sessuali su le donne, ma ci sono stati anche diversi casi di abusi sessuali anche su ragazzi maschi. Le diverse metodologie di torture utilizzate, dalle scariche elettriche a quelle bruciature con plastica fusa, sigarette o ferro arroventato. Le minacce dei trafficanti a chi non paga somme fino a 30.000 dollari restano quello della vendita degli organi che un mercato fiorente in quella regione come stato già dimostrato ampiamente anche da mezzi di comunicazione di massa.

    Facciamo appello alla Comunità Internazionale, in particolare alla Comunità Europea, in primis al governo italiano, per un forte intervento presso le autorità sudanesi perché intervengano sulla gravissima complicità di alcuni poliziotti che sono divenuti complici dei trafficanti, che sopratutto nelle zone di confine e intorno ai campi profughi sono dediti al traffico di persone. Chiediamo un impegno della diplomazia del Unione Europea per spingere questi stati a porre fine a questi atti di crudeltà e crimini contro persone vulnerabili, chiediamo anche interventi per la prevenzione, quindi chiedere una lotta preventiva contro il traffico di organi e di esseri umani, con una campagna informativa e offrire un alternativa ai profughi in Sudan e in Etiopia, è necessaria una azione dell'INERPOL per distruggere la rete dei trafficanti di esseri umani e di organi. La Comunità Internazionale deve pressare gli stati coinvolti da questo traffico e il flusso di denaro macchiato di sangue di innocenti che viene incassato in Eritrea, Sudan, Egitto, Israele, Dubai, e in buona parte del Nord Africa, Medio Oriente e l'Europa.
    don Mussie Zerai

    Sudanese police involved in the trafficking of Eritrean refugees

    Sudanese police involved in the trafficking of Eritrean refugees: - Last night I received at 21.00 hours from 13 young boys now hostage in the Sinai, but the most serious thing that these guys have reported about a month ago they were sold to traffickers by the police of ethnic Rashayda Sudan .These guys once crossed the border of Eritrea-Sudan, surrendered themselves to the Sudanese police, hoping to find protection, then the police had to accompany them to the refugee camp Sheghrab as is normal, it believed these guys. Instead, the border police found in the place called Hafir (Kassel) has sold to the traffickers in these Rashayda, who sold him to the robbers of the Sinai, where they are now hostage for a month, it is asked for their release $ 25 thousand to the head. Other cases January 12, 2012 at 15:50 I received a desperate call for help from a woman who is a prisoner of the traffickers, along with her are 20 women, 5 of which are with children so there are six children and 12 adult males, men are blindfolded and chained hands and feet, women in chains only to walk away. The woman who called for help, talks about the continuous mistreatment, starvation, and violence. Other groups of hostages speak of sexual abuse of women, but there were also several cases of sexual abuse of young boys also. The various methods of torture used by electric shock to those burning with molten plastic, cigarettes or red-hot iron. The threat of smugglers who do not pay money up to $ 30,000 of the sale of organs remain a thriving market in that region as has already been amply demonstrated also by means of mass communication.
    We appeal to the international community, particularly the EU, primarily to the Italian government, for a strong intervention from the Sudanese authorities to intervene on the complicity of some very serious policemen have become accomplices of the traffickers, especially in border areas and around refugee camps are dedicated to trafficking in persons. We ask a commitment of the diplomacy of the European Union to push these states to put an end to these acts of cruelty and crimes against vulnerable people, we also ask for the prevention interventions, and then ask for a pre-fight against the trafficking of organs and human beings, with a information campaign and to offer an alternative to refugees in Sudan and Ethiopia, dell'INERPOL action is needed to destroy the network of traffickers in human beings and organs. The international community must press the states involved in this traffic and the flow of money stained with innocent blood that is collected in Eritrea, Sudan, Egypt, Israel, Dubai, and in much of North Africa, Middle East and Europe. 
    Fr. Mussie Zerai

    martedì 17 gennaio 2012

    TUNISIA: REINSEDIAMENTO DI MINORI NON ACCOMPAGNATI IN NORVEGIA


    UNHCR

    Briefing bisettimanale alla stampa

    17 gennaio 2012
    - TUNISIA: REINSEDIAMENTO DI MINORI NON ACCOMPAGNATI IN NORVEGIA
     
    ****************************************
     
    TUNISIA: REINSEDIAMENTO DI MINORI NON ACCOMPAGNATI IN NORVEGIA
     
    Sono partiti domenica dal campo per rifugiati di Shousha in Tunisia per la Norvegia, 33 minori non accompagnati nell’ambito del processo di reinsediamento.
     
    Fanno parte di un gruppo più numeroso di 90 minori arrivati non accompagnati dalla Libia durante il 2011. Alcuni di loro erano già senza genitori quando sono arrivati in Libia; altri li hanno persi o se ne sono separati successivamente. La maggior parte di loro proviene dalla Somalia, dal Sudan, dall’Etiopia o dall’Eritrea.
     
    Sono 3.400 i rifugiati che vivono a Shousha. Tra loro, i minori non accompagnati hanno potuto contare sull’aiuto di amici e parenti, oltre che sull’assistenza degli operatori umanitari locali e internazionali. Complessivamente - dei 90 minori - 39 sono stati reinsediati, principalmente in Norvegia, Svezia e Danimarca. Avevano creato forti legami tra loro e la partenza - per molti - è stata dolorosa. Così come per coloro che sono ancora in attesa di reinsediarsi.
     
    Resta difficile la vita nel campo di Shousha, in un’area battuta dal vento ed esposta al freddo pungente. L’Alto Commissariato delle Nazioni Unite per i Rifugiati (UNHCR) e le agenzie partner auspicano che possano essere trovate soluzioni rapide per i minori non accompagnati che si trovano ancora nel campo. E per gli altri rifugiati ancora in attesa di soluzioni alla loro condizione.
     
    L’UNHCR nel campo fornisce assistenza, lavora con i minori e le loro comunità per stabilire l’interesse preminente di ogni minore, sostiene attivamente il reinsediamento e sottopone casi ai paesi di reinsediamento. L’Organizzazione Internazionale per le Migrazioni (OIM) fornisce orientamento sensibile alle specificità dei minori e organizza il trasporto verso le nuove case.
     
    Per la maggioranza dei rifugiati riconosciuti fuggiti dalla Libia verso la Tunisia e l’Egitto - secondo l’UNHCR - il reinsediamento costituisce l’unica opzione percorribile. I due paesi hanno consentito a centinaia di migliaia di migranti di soggiornare temporaneamente sul loro territorio prima di essere rimpatriati attraverso l’operazione congiunta UNHCR-OIM. Queste Agenzie hanno esortato gli stati - in particolare europei - a offrire un maggior numero di posti per il reinsediamento per i rifugiati che rimanevano alle frontiere di Egitto e Tunisia.
     
    L’UNHCR ha completato le procedure di determinazione dello status di rifugiato per tutti i 2.500 richiedenti di Shousha: 2.200 di loro sono stati riconosciuti rifugiati. Insieme ad altre 800 persone che sono state riconosciute come rifugiati in Libia prima dei disordini del 2011, sono oltre 3.000 i rifugiati che dal campo di Shousha hanno sottoposto il loro caso per il reinsediamento.
     
    A Saloum, poi, sul confine egiziano con la Libia, i casi di circa 1.400 persone - delle 1.830 presenti - sono stati proposti per il reinsediamento.
     
    Le richieste di reinsediamento inviate da Shousha e Saloum sono state sottoposte e accettate da Australia, Belgio, Canada, Danimarca, Finlandia, Irlanda, Norvegia, Paesi Bassi, Portogallo, Svezia e Stati Uniti. Più di recente Germania, Nuova Zelanda e Spagna si sono unite all’impegno per il reinsediamento, programmando l’invio di missioni di selezione nel campo di Shousha e a Saloum.
     
    Decisioni rapide sulle richieste di reinsediamento. È ciò che l’UNHCR chiede ai paesi di reinsediamento. Attualmente solo un caso di rifugiati su 5 viene accettato e finora solo 1 rifugiato su 6 - 731 in totale - è effettivamente partito.
     
    I centri di transito d’emergenza dell’UNHCR in Romania e Slovacchia stanno poi fornendo spazio aggiuntivo di fondamentale importanza per intervistare i rifugiati provenienti da Tunisia ed Egitto prima del reinsediamento, in particolare verso gli Stati Uniti e i Paesi Bassi.
     
    In risposta all’esodo di cittadini di paesi terzi nei paesi limitrofi della Libia, l’UNHCR e l’OIM hanno lanciato un programma congiunto di evacuazione umanitaria attraverso il quale nel corso del 2011 circa 210.000 persone hanno fatto ritorno in patria.
     

    Per ulteriori informazioni:
    Ufficio stampa -- 06 80212318 -- 06 80212315
    Portavoce: Laura Boldrini -- 06 80212315 -- 335 5403194
    www.unhcr.it
    We believe 1 refugee without hope is too many.
    Tell the world you do too: Click 1.
    We believe 1 refugee without hope is too many. Tell the world you do too: http://do1thing.unhcr.org

    lunedì 16 gennaio 2012

    Onu: Eritrea non forni' armi a Shabaab


    L'indagine dopo le accuse del portavoce militare di Nairobi

    16 gennaio, 14:15
    (ANSA) - NAIROBI, 16 GEN - Il Consiglio di Sicurezza dell'Onu ha dichiarato inconsistenti le accuse nei confronti dell'Eritrea di aver fornito armi ai militanti di al Shabaab in Somalia, come sostenuto dalle forze di difesa del Kenya. Il gruppo di sorveglianza dell'Onu ha indagato in particolare sul traffico aereo tra ottobre e novembre scorso verso Baidoa, citta' a sud della Somalia controllata dai miliziani islamici legati ad al Qaeda. Secondo l'Onu i rapporti forniti dall'esercito kenyano erano errati.
    http://www.ansa.it/web/notizie/rubriche/topnews/2012/01/16/visualizza_new.html_45152950.html

    Israeli clampdown on migrants may put Eritrea refugees at risk


    There are concerns that the Israeli government's planned restrictions on migrants may exacerbate the plight of refugees and asylum seekers in the Sinai.
    The Illegal Migrants Bill passed in the Knesset last week allows for the arrest and imprisonment of anyone caught crossing into Israel illegally.
    Refugees may be detained for up to three years without trial or deported back to their country of origin. Israelis who assist them face between five and 15 years in prison.
    According to Italian NGO, Agenzia Habeshia, a group of 20 women, six children and 12 men from Eritrea are being held hostage in the Sinai.
    The men are reportedly blindfolded and chained by their hands and feet, while the women are shackled.
    There are reports that the women and some of the young boys are being subjected to sexual violence.
    In addition, the group is facing starvation and additional torture in the form of electric shocks and burns.
    The group is being held by Bedouin human traffickers, who are reportedly demanding $30,000 or the sale of an organ for their release.
    Christian Solidarity Worldwide said the majority of those likely to be affected by the new Israeli law are people fleeing brutal regimes in sub-Saharan Africa.

    It said the Bill will "effectively criminalise genuine refugees" and curtail the amount of assistance they can receive from humanitarian NGOs.
    CSW’s Advocacy Director Andrew Johnston called upon Israel to respect its obligations under the UN Refugee Convention and reconsider the law.
    “CSW appreciates that the flow of people in search of refuge may present challenges," he said.
    "However, the Illegal Migrants Bill will criminalise vulnerable and traumatised people, who deserve protection, and is in clear violation of international humanitarian law."

    sabato 14 gennaio 2012

    (UNHCR) – UN refugee agency chief António Guterres ended a visit to Sudan


    UNHCR chief ends Sudan visit with relief for 'old' refugees, risks for new ones

    News Stories, 13 January 2012
    © UNHCR/A.Awad
    High Commissioner António Guterres with Eritrean and Ethiopian refugees in Shagarab I camp, eastern Sudan.
    KHARTOUM, Sudan, January 13 (UNHCR)  UN refugee agency chief António Guterres ended a visit to Sudan this week by hailing efforts towards lasting solutions for thousands of long-staying refugees in eastern Sudan, while raising concerns about the trafficking of vulnerable people in the region, including asylum-seekers.
    "Our refugee programme in Sudan is one of the oldest in Africa, at 45 years. Since then, the government has been hosting refugees from many countries generously," Guterres told journalists in Khartoum on Thursday. Acknowledging the strain that generations of hospitality has put on the Sudanese people, he announced plans to launch an initiative "aimed at helping long-staying refugees become more self-reliant through livelihood projects while also supporting the local community through development projects."
    The transitional solutions initiative is supported by the government and will be jointly implemented by UNHCR, the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and the World Bank, starting with a few pilot camps in the east.
    Earlier on Thursday, the High Commissioner travelled to Kassala in eastern Sudan to meet the country's largest concentration of refugees, numbering more than 86,000. Many had fled fighting over the past half century between Eritrea and Ethiopia, but the majority were born in Sudan's camps, where they share the ethnicity, language and religion of their host community.
    At Shagarab I camp, Guterres met refugee women who had benefited from a micro-credit scheme funded by UNHCR. Among them was Asha Adam, 28, who has been trained to make handicrafts and to run a small business. With an initial loan of 150 Sudanese pounds (about US$56), she started a small "cupboard" shop in her parents' home, selling biscuits, tomato paste and soap bought from the local market.
    "It's going well," said the Eritrean refugee, who was born and bred in the camp. "I hope to expand my business into a proper shop that sells more daily necessities like sugar and coffee. My parents are old and my two brothers have daily-wage jobs in the market, so this will help to increase the family's income."
    While at Shagarab, the High Commissioner also met some of the recent arrivals. Every month, some 2,000 asylum-seekers reach the camp, mostly single young men from Eritrea. Some come to escape military service back home, others just want a better life elsewhere. Most of them leave the camp within two months of arrival, using smuggling networks to circumvent restrictions on movement and continue their journey to Khartoum, the Middle East or Europe.
    Younas, 25, fled Eritrea after enduring years of low pay and harsh conditions in the military. In his four months in Shagarab I camp, he has tried twice to go to Khartoum, which he feels is safer for a deserter. Twice he was arrested and sent back to the camp. But he is determined: "As long as I'm alive, I'll keep trying to find a safer place to go."
    Speaking to a group of recent arrivals, Guterres said, "It's painful to see so many young people become victims of trafficking and kidnapping. Some are even killed. We are prepared to support the government to crack down on the smugglers and to protect the victims."
    He added, "This is not only a Sudanese problem, it is a global problem that calls for many countries in the region to respond."
    During his Sudan visit, the High Commissioner addressed another pressing issue  the future of an estimated 700,000 southerners living in Sudan after South Sudan seceded in July last year. Some 110,000 of them have so far been registered to return to South Sudan, but are stranded in Khartoum and other areas due to a lack of funds, transportation and security.
    He listened to their problems when he visited a departure point at Mayo Mandella in south-eastern Khartoum on Wednesday. Some 245 families originally from the south have been living in makeshift shelters here, some of them for more than one year.
    "If you want to serve us, please help us to speed up the transportation," said one woman at Mayo Mandella. There are not enough trains and barges to go south, and some roads are unsafe for travel, especially through conflict-affected areas like South Kordofan.
    Guterres, who had visited South Sudan earlier this week, noted, "Both governments have agreed to a bilateral plan of action, which we hope will be established in the near future to allow for a more effective return to the south. This will involve air movements for the most vulnerable people, but the opening up of safe convoys by land will be most crucial."
    By Vivian Tan, in Khartoum, Sudan

    Israel Detention Profile


    http://www.globaldetentionproject.org/countries/middle-east/israel/introduction.html


    Israel encourages Jewish immigration and allows those with Jewish ancestry to immigrate and naturalize even if they are not considered Jewish under religious law. In addition, a migrant labour policy adopted in the 1990s has brought several hundred thousand workers from Asia, Africa, and South America. Meanwhile Israel limits Palestinian access to residency and family reunification, and denies Palestinian refugees’ right of return. Since the early 1990s, Palestinian work permits have been increasingly restricted while foreign migrant labour, which is considered a more secure alternative to Palestinian labour, has been encouraged.

    By the mid-1990s, the burgeoning number of non-Jewish migrants began to stir public agitation and the government responded by limiting migrant work permits and increasing the detention and deportation of migrants. Deportations dramatically increased after the establishment of the Immigration Authority (IA) in 2002, an agency tasked with implementing deportations along with the police (Berman 2007, pp. 7-8). IA also oversaw rapid expansion of Israel’s detention complex, with the number of places allocated for immigration detention increasing from 260 in 2002 to 1,300 by 2003 (Kav LaOved & HMW 2003, p. 1). By the end of 2010, Israel’s detention capacity had grown to an estimated 2,500 beds (Berman 2011).

    Since 2006, Israel has experienced a new wave of immigration comprised of asylum seekers from Africa (HMW 2007, p. 3; Martins 2009, p. 7). Most of these asylum seekers—estimated to number some 30,000 by 2010—have come from Eritrea and Sudan, crossing the Egyptian border into Israel (IRIN 2010). The country was ill-prepared to deal with this influx and in the absence of national asylum laws these migrants have often faced ad hoc and arbitrary treatment (HRW 2008).

    The influx of asylum seekers and irregular migrants has triggered concerns that they pose socio-economic problems, and that they threaten the Jewish character of the state (Martins 2009; AP 2010). The government has responded with a number of increasingly restrictive measures.

    In 2009, the government created a specialized immigration force called the Oz Unit, which is tasked with deporting all of the country’s more than 200,000 irregular residents. In January 2010, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced plans to build a wall along the country’s border with Egypt because, according to Netanyahu, the country “cannot let tens of thousands of illegal workers infiltrate into Israel through the southern border and inundate our country with illegal aliens" (Al Jazeera 2010a). Several months later, in November 2010, Netanyahu announced that the government would build a massive new detention facility to confine up to 10,000 so-called infiltrators—unauthorized non-citizens—in order to “significantly reduce the economic incentive for them to arrive in Israel” (CNN 2010). And Israel’s Knesset has proposed a new “infiltration” law whose draconian measures regarding detention and deportation of asylum seekers led a coalition of Israeli human rights groups to describe it as “one of the most dangerous bills ever presented” (ACRI et al 2010).


    Detention Policy

    The majority of asylum seekers and irregular migrants arrive in Israel after transiting Egypt. Termed “infiltrators” by the government, these non-citizens are either detained under the authorisation of the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) or immediately turned back to Egypt as part of an unofficial “Hot Return” policy, a practice that has been criticized by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) as contrary to international law (Weiler-Polak 2009). In August 2007 a group of human rights organizations filed a petition to the High Court of Justice contesting the legality of this practice (Hotline for Migrant Workers et al v. Minister of Defence), which is still pending (Berman 2011).

    Border Apprehensions. Those apprehended while attempting to cross the Egyptian border and not immediately “returned” to Egypt (see “Hot Returns” below) are initially briefly confined in IDF military bases along the border before being sent to Israeli Prisons Service (IPS) facilities elsewhere in the country (HRW 2008, p.74). According to a non-governmental source in Israel, the amount of time people are held by the IDF depends in part on space availability in other detention facilities. There is no evidence of IDF bases being used for long-term detention (Berman 2011b).

    Most people apprehended at the border are sent to Saharonim Detention Centre in southern Israel, which has been the subject of intense criticism for detaining migrant children alongside adults (Haaretz 2010). Immigration detainees at the facility are held under administrative orders of detention issued by the Ministry of Interior (MOI) (Berman 2011).

    “Hot Returns.” Israeli authorities have undertaken coordinated border patrols with Egyptian police, who have been repeatedly condemned for shooting migrants who attempt to cross into Israel clandestinely (McCarthy 2010). Although there is no formal agreement between Egypt and Israel on returning asylum seekers, in 2007 then-Prime Minister Ehud Olmert announced that he had reached an oral agreement with then-Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak according to which Egypt agreed to accept asylum seekers apprehended at the border. Shortly after the announcement, the Egyptian Ministry of Interior announced on its website that no such agreement had been made (Berman 2011). Israel has continued to insist in proceedings at the High Court of Justice that such an agreement exists, and human rights groups and UN agencies have documented numerous cases of “coordinated returns” of asylum seekers to Egypt. Human Rights Watch’s 2008 report Sinai Perils discusses cases in which asylum seekers “sent back” to Egypt were “disappeared” (HRW 2008).

    In its Global Report 2008, UNHCR reported: “Israeli authorities returned several asylum-seekers without giving UNHCR a chance to assess their protection needs. Furthermore, the Office received reports of hundreds of persons of concern, mainly from Eritrea and Ethiopia, who were detained or forcibly returned from Egypt, again without UNHCR having an opportunity to assess their asylum claims. With the exception of some 180 individuals in a prison in Aswan, UNHCR’s efforts to obtain access to the detained Eritrean asylum-seekers in Egypt were unsuccessful in 2008. The Office also received reports about the forcible return of some 30 people to Southern Sudan” (UNHCR 2009).

    Legal framework. Two laws dictate Israeli detention policy for irregular migrants and asylum seekers: the 1954 Prevention of Infiltration Law and the 1952 Entry into Israel Law.

    The Prevention of Infiltration law authorizes the Ministry of Defence to detain any “infiltrator,” regardless of whether the person poses a security threat. Article 30 of the Infiltration Law allows the Minister of Defence to issue a deportation order to “infiltrators,” and states that the deportation order is also to be considered a detention order providing for administrative confinement until deportation. This law has no provisions for judicial or administrative review of detention (Berman 2011).

    According to the Prevention of Infiltration law, any citizen or resident of a select group of countries (as well as “visitors” to these countries)—including Lebanon, Egypt, Syria, Saudi-Arabia, Jordan, Iraq, and Yemen—or any Palestinian who has “left his ordinary place of residence in an area which has become a part of Israel” can be designated an “infiltrator” and be subject to detention and deportation (art. 1). Article 10 adds that a person who “enters Israel without permission or who is in Israel unlawfully is … deemed to be an infiltrator so long as he has not proved the contrary.”

    An infiltrator can face criminal sanction and be imprisoned for up to five years (art. 2) or seven years if re-entering after having been deported (art 3). If entering while armed or in the presence of an armed person, the infiltrator may be imprisoned for up to 15 years; if carrying a firearm or explosives, life imprisonment (art 4). A person who assists an infiltrator may also be imprisoned for up to five (art. 6) or fifteen (art. 8) years.

    The 1952 Entry into Israel Law authorizes the Ministry of the Interior to administratively detain and deport non-citizens for irregular entry (art. 10). Border control officers, operating under the Ministry of the Interior, are empowered to detain a person awaiting deportation if they are not returned on the vessel on which they came. Additionally, irregular entry, the provision of false documents, and/or the violation of a residence permit can result in criminal imprisonment for a maximum of three months (art. 12).

    Criminalisation. Although both the Infiltration Law and the Entry into Israel Lawprovide criminal sanctions for violations, according to a source in Israel, in practice criminal cases are not pursued except in cases dealing with Palestinians or persons who entered Israel without authorization several times (Berman 2011).

    Length of Detention. The law does not set a limit to the length of time a non-citizen can be held in administrative detention. After 60 days, authorities have the discretion to release “cooperative” detainees. According to a source in Israel, in practice such discretion is rarely exercised. Authorities consider asylum seekers who refuse to drop their asylum claims to be uncooperative, and thus they are not released until deported (Berman 2011b).

    Judicial review. In contrast to the Infiltration Law, the Entry Law provides for “semi-judicial” review of detention orders, although people can be detained for up to four days before the review must take place. Hotline for Migrant Workerscharacterizes this review as “semi-judicial” because it is undertaken by a panel of lawyers appointed by the Interior Ministry in consultation with the Justice Ministry, and thus it is not considered to be an independent panel (Berman 2011b).

    According to a source in Israel, persons apprehended at the border can sometimes be detained for periods exceeding four days before being afforded a review. Typically, border detainees are initially issued a deportation/detention order by the IDF. They are held by the IDF for a few days with no review, then they are transferred to a prison and issued an order under the provisions in the Entry Law. At this point, they are afforded a review within four days (Berman 2011).

    Authorised detaining authorities and sites of detention. According to theEntry Law, a police or immigration official may apprehend a person if there is probable cause to suspect that he/she is illegally staying in Israel. The Entry Lawstipulates that persons may be held in prisons, in places of arrest, in other places declared by the Minister of Interior or the Minister of Internal Security to be “special detention facilities,” or in any other place specified in the deportation order (Berman 2011).

    Revision of the Prevention of Infiltration LawIn 2006, a bill was introduced in the Knesset amending the Infiltration Law that would have widened the scope of who is considered an “infiltrator” and increase the severity of penalties. The proposed  law's hardline measures regarding detention and deportation of asylum seekers led a coalition of Israeli human rights groups to describe it as “one of the most dangerous bills ever presented” (ACRI et al 2010). Although this bill was eventually withdrawn, in December 2010 a new bill was introduced that would leave criminal penalties in the 1954 law untouched while modifying administrative measures of detention and deportation (Berman 2011). According to Amnesty International, the amendment proposals are intended to serve as a central component of Israel's policy towards refugees and asylum seekers, and would effectively annul Israel’s ratification of the 1951 Refugee Convention, which has never been incorporated into domestic law (AI 2010b).

    Asylum seekers. Israel is notorious for rejecting nearly all asylum applications. In 2009, Israel’s asylum recognition rate was less than 1 percent (UNHCR 2010b).

    Like other migrants, asylum seekers stopped at the border without adequate entry papers are generally detained. While the Entry into Israel law requires that detention be reviewed within four days, asylum seekers are often detained for weeks or months. Detention times vary widely, and often release only comes after intervention by UNHCR or an NGO (UNHCR 2009b) and sometimes doesn’t come even after such intervention. (HRW 2008, p.76; Berman 2011).

    Formerly, UNHCR was responsible for conducting first-instance refugee status determination and submitting recommendations to Israel’s National Status Granting Body (NSGB) (HRW 2008, p.75). As of July 2009, UNHCR began turning over the handling of refugee status determination to the MOI. This change was codified in guidelines that entered into force in January 2011 (State of Israel 2011). According to a source in Israel, all asylum seekers now have an initial “basic interview” that is undertaken by officials who are not generally trained to conduct RSD (refugee status determination). Following this basic interview, most applicants are summarily rejected. Those summarily rejected have no right to administratively appeal the negative decision, and their only recourse is to initiate a petition to the district court (Berman 2011).

    Those who are not summarily rejected—a minority of asylum seekers—have their cases transferred to the RSD unit at MOI. The RDS unit’s recommendations are then sent to the NSGB, and the NSGB’s recommendations go to the Minister of Interior or the Head of the Population and Immigration Registry for a final decision (Berman 2011).

    A non-governmental source in Israel characterized the handover of refugee status determination responsibilities from UNHCR to MOI as “simply a disaster.” He added: “Although the RSD clerks receive training, they have been pretty much indoctrinated to perceive all asylum seekers as economic migrants and imposters. For this reason, although MOI reviewed thousands of cases since July 2009, they have not given one single positive recommendation” (Berman 2011).

    According to this source, beginning in January 2011, people who apply for asylum at the Ministry of Interior (MOI) have there applications summarily rejected and then they “are taken into custody at the MOI’s offices … creating a chilling effect on asylum seekers and discouraging people from even applying” (Berman 2011).

    Although Israel became a signatory to the 1951 Refugee Convention in 1954, it has never incorporated the provisions of the treaty into domestic law, in part because of fears that doing so would encourage claims to right of return by Palestinian refugees, who fall under the mandate of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA). A “roundabout route” for assessing non-Palestinian refugee claims has thus been adopted that provides for things like the right to work, temporary protection, and non-refoulement (UNHCR 2007). Despite these measures, Israel consistently refuses to review refugee claims, and many are turned away as part of the “Hot Return” policy along the Egyptian border, or designated as “infiltrators” (ACRI et al 2010).

    Migrant workers. Migrant workers represent a significant part of Israel’s work force, including many unauthorized labourers. According to one media report, the Interior Ministry claimed that as of January 2009 “there were 280,000 foreigners living in Israel illegally. … Of these, 118,000 were foreign workers who entered the country legally and either lost their status or stayed after their five-year permits expired” (Friedman 2009).

    Migrant workers have been subjected to detention and deportation based on a number of grounds related to employment status, place of residency, economic needs, and family status. Until 2005, a controversial “binding agreement” gave employers control over a migrant’s visa. If a migrant wanted to change jobs, or if the employer refused or neglected to renew the visa, the migrant worker could be detained and deported (Kruger 2005).

    Despite changes to this policy in May 2005, in 2009 migrant rights groups continued to denounce efforts by authorities to detain and deport migrant workers before their work permits had expired in cases where they did not have a job during a three-month period, if their employers did not pay fees for their permits, or if an employer illegally transferred them to another employer (Friedman 2009).

    Additionally, women can lose their status because of pregnancy, and both men and women are not allowed to have romantic relations with non-Israelis, which can be grounds for revoking work permits. In a February 2011 report on Israel, the UNCommittee on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Womenhighlighted these policies, stating:  “[T]he Committee is seriously concerned at the State party’s existing policy that migrant workers who give birth must leave the State party with their baby within three months of giving birth or send their baby out of the State party's borders so as to safeguard their work permits. The Committee is equally concerned that marriage and intimate relationships between migrant workers under an existing State party policy constitute cause to revoke the couple's work permits” (CEDAW 2011).

    Order 1650 for the West Bank. Order 1650, or the Order regarding Prevention of Infiltration (Amendment no. 2),  effective April 13, 2009, expands the definition of “infiltrator” presented in a 1969 Order from anyone entering Israel illegally through an “enemy state” to any one present in the West Bank without a valid permit (Hass 2010). Order 1650 subjects anyone without such a permit to deportation, transfer, criminal charges, fines, and/or imprisonment.

    According to B’Tselem, the order is part of a series of steps to remove Palestinians from the West Bank, and according to Amira Haas it will enable the deportation of thousands (B’Tselem May 2010; Hass 2010). The law employs the term “infiltrator” to describe any person “staying illegally” in the West Bank. Violators can be sentenced to up to seven years in prison. Those who entered the West Bank lawfully but remained after the permit expired are subject to up to three-year prison terms (B’Tselem May 2010).

    The law has been criticized as a breach of the fourth Geneva Convention, which prohibits forceful transfers or deportations of people in occupied territories, as well as a breach of the obligation undertaken by Israel in the Oslo Accords to recognise the West Bank and Gaza as a single territorial unit (B’Tselem May 2010; Guarnieri April 2010; UN 2010). According to the Israeli NGO HaMoked, because the order is “worded so broadly” it can allow “the [Israeli] military to empty the West Bank of almost all its Palestinian inhabitants” (Guarnieri April 2010). The Order has been condemned by the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network (EMHRN 2010), Amnesty International (AI 2010), as well as other rights groups.

    Deportations and the Oz Unit. Israel began deporting irregular migrants and asylum seekers in 1995 due to fears about threats to the Jewish character of the state (HMW 2009, p. 1). In August 2002, the Israeli government established a new Immigration Authority (IA) unit of the Israeli Police force in order to increase the deportation of irregular migrant workers, with a goal of expelling 100,000 by 2005 (Kav LaOved & HMW 2003, p.1). According to Hotline for Migrant Workers (HMW), between 1995 and 2008, 71,500 people were forcibly deported, half of whom were deported during 2003-2004. HMW received numerous complaints during this period of violent arrests, night raids, and graffiti on migrants’ homes (HMW 2009, p. 1). Official government statistics show that after the 2003-2004 period (when some 38,000 unauthorized workers were deported), deportations dropped off significantly. In 2005, 6,500 were deported; in 2006, 3,500 (CARIM 2008).

    An academic study of deportations during the period 2001-2005 concluded that the government’s “deportation campaign was designed to achieve two parallel goals: to lower labour costs by creating a large class of indentured workers through what has been referred to as the ‘binding arrangement’ (a neo-liberal goal) and to deny the grant of civic status to non-Jewish migrant workers (an ethno-national goal)” (Dahan and Gill 2006, p. 1).

    In July 2009, the government replaced the Immigration Police with a new agency called the Oz Unit (“oz” means strength in Hebrew), which is a specialized police agency that is part of the Ministry of the Interior’s National Immigration Authority. The unit was created with the goal of apprehending the estimated 280,000 undocumented foreigners in Israel by 2013.

    The unit has been plagued with controversy. According to one media report, “The former head of the Oz unit resigned after only six months on the job in 2009 amid allegations of instilling fear in illegal immigrants and unpaid wages for employees, and the unit was faulted in a June 2010 State Department report for lacking will to combat human trafficking” (Rosen 2010).

    According to the U.S. State Department’s 2010 annual Trafficking in Persons Report, local advocacy groups accused the Oz Unit of “lacking awareness of trafficking and the will to combat it.” The report also stated, “While Oz inspectors were meant to convey information to the police if they encountered suspected crimes against migrant workers, NGOs asserted that this did not happen, and a report by the Knesset’s Research and Information Center confirmed shortcomings in the operations of Oz inspectors” (Eglash 2010).

    Minors. According to a source in Israel, while there are internal guidelines addressing the issue of the detention of minors, there are no special provisions for them and general policies concerning detention and deportation apply to them (Berman 2011). Previously, minors were generally detained along with adult females in separate facilities (HMW 2008). However, recent changes in policies provide that minors be detained with women only if they are accompanied. Male unaccompanied minors are held in a dedicated immigration detention facilities for juvenile males called Matan and female unaccompanied minors are held in Givon Prison, which has a separate section used solely for administrative immigration detention (Berman 2011).

    Unaccompanied children under the age of 12 are cared for by the Ministry of Social Welfare, which is authorized to find foster homes for them. Minors aged 12-18 are often placed in Israeli boarding schools, depending on the individual circumstances of each case (HRW 2008, p. 78). According to a source in Israel, as of February 2011, there were several dozen unaccompanied minors in detention, most of whom were facing many months in detention awaiting alternative arrangements to be made at boarding schools or foster homes (Berman 2011).

    Alternatives to detention. While there is no official government policy mandating finding alternatives to detention, Hotline for Migrant Workers successfully campaigned to get some asylum seekers released from detention and sent to alternative sites, including kibbutzim, Moshavim cooperative villages, and hotels (HMW 2007, p. 5). According to an HMW legal adviser, these cases “can be partially viewed as a success and partially as a failure” (Berman 2011). He said that these so-called alternatives amounted to severe limitations of freedom because the migrants were not allowed to leave the circumscribed space of the kibbutz they were sent to. Israeli authorities no longer allow these “alternatives” (Berman 2011b).


    Detention Infrastructure

    The Entry Law stipulates that detained non-citizens may be held in prisons, in places of arrest, in other places declared by the Minister of Interior or the Minister of Internal Security to be “special detention facilities,” or in any other place specified in the deportation order. All detention facilities are operated by the Israel Prison Service (not including the IDF bases used for short-term detention on Israel's border). According to Hotline for Migrant Workers (Berman 2011b), as of February 2011, Israel had an estimated total detention capacity of about 2,500, and six facilities were in use:

    • Saharonim Detention Centre (also “Saaronim”), which began operations in 2007 and is located near the Egyptian border, is a dedicated immigration detention facility that has a total capacity of approximately 2,000 and is used to confine asylum seekers and irregular migrants, including mothers with children (Berman 2011b). Most people apprehended at the border are sent to Saharonim, which has been the subject of intense criticism for detaining migrant children alongside adults (Haaretz 2010).
    • Givon Prison, located near the city of Ramla, has a section used exclusively for the administrative detention of non-citizens that began operations in 2009. The immigration detention wing has an estimated capacity of 400 and is used mainly for migrant workers and other undocumented migrants (including men, women and children), as well as female unaccompanied minors (Berman 2011b). The plight of child detainees at Givon spurred a rightwing Likud Party member to say during a 2009 hearing of Knesset’s Committee for the Rights of the Child, “After the shock that I and my fellow committee members experienced during the tour of the Givon facility, we became determined to get [children] out of there. The committee decided that the treatment of unaccompanied foreign minors is twisted and inhumane” (Levi Julian and Cohen 2009).
    • Matan is an administrative juvenile detention facility that began operations in 2010 and is located near Hadera. It is used only for confining unaccompanied male minors and has an estimated capacity of 70 (HMW 2010).
    • Eshel and Dekel are two prisons located in Beersheba that sometimes confine immigration detainees when they are considered "trouble makers" or are in need of special medical treatment (Berman 2011b).
    • Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv has a small transit detention facility that is used to hold people who are denied entry into Israel or for people who are awaiting flights removing them from the country. Established in 2010 (Goren 2011), the facility reportedly holds no more than 2-4 people at a time, and generally for only very brief periods of time (Berman 2011b). However, according to a source in Israel, occasionally authorities have confined people for long periods of time at the facility, particularly in cases where detainees physically resist deportation and airlines refuse to allow them to board (Berman 2011b). This source said that the facility could be used by authorities to “break down” people and convince them to “voluntarily” leave the country because the facility is like a “black hole” with little space and detainees are not allowed any form of recreation (Berman 2011b). In February, media reports revealed that the government was intending to use the airport facility for detaining families as they await deportation, spurring one rights activist to accuse the government  of committing a “moral stain that will not be erased” (Goren 2011).

    Israel’s detention estate has undergone numerous changes since the 1990s. According to one report, until 2002, its immigration-related detention infrastructure was limited to a couple hundred places in the Ma’asiyahu Prison, which were generally used to hold unauthorized foreign workers (Kav LaOved & HMW 2003, p. 1). However, with the creation of the Immigration Authority (IA) in 2002 and its mandate to increase deportations of unauthorized residents, the detention infrastructure expanded rapidly. According to a 2003 NGO report, shortly after IA’s founding, “At Nazareth’s Renaissance Hotel, which was converted into a detention facility for migrant workers, 500 places were earmarked. In the south of Israel, a new detention facility called Tsohar was opened, initially with 67 places for detainees but soon slated to have room for 300 inmates. In Hadera, a police facility was turned into a special jail for migrant workers known as Michal, for 84 detainees. As a result, a total of some 1,300 places will be available to the IA for housing detained migrant workers” (Kav LaOved & HMW 2003, p. 1).

    According to one source, since this 2003 report Maasiyahu has been replaced  by Givon Prison; Renaissance and Tsohar were closed; and Michal was closed and then reopened as an administrative juvenile detention centre under the name Matan (Berman 2011).

    Until 2006, Israel exclusively used prisons for holding immigration detainees. However, beginning in 2005, the government came under increasing public pressure because of growing numbers of asylum seekers coming to Israel. In 2006, the government began creating separate wards for immigration detainees in prisons. Then, in 2007, in response to public pressure led by student groups concerning the treatment of Sudanese asylum seekers dropped off by the military in the streets of Beersheba, the government established the Saharonin facility, which at first was nothing more than a few caravans located on the site of the Ketziot prison. Now Saharonim is under separate administration and is comprised of several tents (which have cement floors) and buildings (Berman 2011b).

    According to Human Rights Watch, there have been complaints about inadequate heating in the winter and overheating in the summer, and inadequate educational and recreational activities for children at Saharonim (HRW 2008; see also Wheeler 2007 and UNHCR 2009b). The detention centre has also been the subject of intense criticism for detaining migrant children alongside adults (Haaretz 2010). Saharonim now has separate sections for criminal and immigration detainees, and also for women and children (Berman 2011).

    According to HMW, “After a long and intensive campaign by Israeli human rights organizations, a new prison for unaccompanied minors arriving in Israel from the Egyptian borders was established. … The new prison is called ‘Matan’ and it is situated in Hadera, in the same building of the old ‘Michal’ women prison. While ‘Michal’ was run by the Immigration Authority, ‘Matan’ is run by the Prison Authority (HMW 2010).

    In November 2010, the Knesset voted to build a new detention facility to hold  an estimated 10,000 irregular migrants and asylum seekers. It was originally due to be completed in May-June 2011, but Holtine for Migrants Workers told the Global Detention Project that it is unlikely the facility will be completed on schedule. In a letter to Prime Minister Netanyahu, HMW and the Association for Civil Rights in Israel called the proposed centre "nothing more than a ghetto" (AP 2010). Netanyahu has said that the facility is part of a “multi-pronged” approach that includes construction of a 220-250 kilometre long wall along Egyptian border and increased fines for employers of illegal foreign workers (AP 2010, Al Jazeera 2010b).

    A September 2010 HMW report provided detailed statistics about the situation of detained families at  Saharonim (HMW 2010). According to the report:

    • Fathers are detained in the men's sections and the mothers with their children are detained in the women's section. Some improvements in the imprisonment conditions have been made since human rights organizations filed a petition on that issue in January 2008, but women and children are still detained in cloth tents and no proper schooling is offered to the children who are usually detained for months.
    • On August 3, 2010, there were 206 women and children in Saharonim: 41 of them were detained since 2009; 96 of the detainees were from Eritrea; 65 from Ethiopia; seven from Sudan; and 12 were registered as unknown.  


    Facts & Figures

    As of August 2010, 1,042 unauthorized residents were being “unlawfully” held for more than 60 days by the Israeli prison authorities. 415 of them had been in detention for more than a year (HMW 2010). "The average imprisonment period of foreign citizens is 521 days. Among them there is a resident of Togo who has been incarcerated in the Givon Prison since 2004—that's six years” (quoted in Branovsky 2010). Commenting on these statistics, the organization said: "Instead of these huge amounts, the State could have released and allowed these detainees to work for a living, or at the very least decided who among them should be granted refugee status. Instead the country just imprisons over 1,000 people, including children who have harmed no one and whose only vice was to enter Israel illegally” (quoted in Branovsky 2010).

    HMW reports that as of February 2011, Israel had an estimated total detention capacity of about 2,500, and six facilities—three prisons, two migrant detention facilities, and one airport transit facility—were in use (Berman 2011b).

    According to the Immigration Authority, nearly 11,000 “illegal migrants” entered Israel from Egypt during January-November 2010, a record number (BBC 2010).

    An estimated 300,000 migrant labourers now reside in Israel, with the largest number coming from the Philippines. There are also large numbers of migrant workers from Thailand, China, India, Nepal, and Sri Lanka. According to the Interior Ministry (MOI), in 2009 there were some 300,000 “illegal migrants” and approximately 70,700 legal foreign workers in Israel (Paiss 2009). Other government sources report that 120,000 foreign workers with expired visas were working illegally in Israel (AP 2010). However, according to Hotline for Migrant Workers, “there is no actual way to know the exact number of 'illegal migrants.' The MOI regularly disseminates conflicting information. At a certain point they even stated that there were one million ‘illegal migrants’” (Berman 2011).

    The number of asylum seekers in Israel as of November 2010 was estimated to be 30,000 (IRIN 2010). UNHCR registered nearly 7,500 new asylum claims in 2009, mostly from Sudan and Eritrea. Between 9,000-11,000 Sudanese and Eritrean asylum seekers received temporary protection that year (UNHCR 2009). Nearly 5,000 asylum seekers entered Israel via Egypt in 2009 (ACRI 2010, p. 7).

    Only 190 asylum seekers have been granted refugee status in Israel since it signed the 1951 Convention in 1954 (ACRI 2010, p.4; IRIN 2010). In 2009, detention periods for asylum seekers averaged four months (UNHCR 2009b). Most of the asylum seekers detained in 2009 were held in Saharonim/Ketziot prison (1,500) and Givon prison (350) (HMW 2009, p. 5, HMW 2009b, p. 10). 3,300 people were deported in 2008 (HMW 2009, p. 2).

    A September 2010 Hotline for Migrant Workers report (HMW 2010) offered the following detention statistics:

    • At the time, Sudanese and Eritreans made up more than 70 percent of asylum seekers in Israel.
    • A citizen of Congo and a citizen of Kenya had been in detention since 2004; a citizen of Ethiopia had been in detention since 2005; two citizens of Guinea had been in detention since 2006.
    • 20 people had been in detention since 2007: 13 citizens of Ivory Coast; one from Uzbekistan; one from Ethiopia; one from Guinea; one from Togo; one from Moldova; one from Nigeria; and one from Zimbabwe.
    • 74 people had been in detention since 2008: 20 citizens of Ivory Coast; seven from Somalia; six from Ethiopia; 11 from unknown countries; the rest from 11 various countries.
    • 316 people had been in detention since 2009: 135 citizens of Ethiopia; 14 from Ivory Coast; 10 from unknown countries; eight from Sudan; six from Somalia; two from Congo; one from Libya; the rest from 20 other countries.