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UN refugee agency: Israel anti-infiltration could be breaking int'l law

January 10, 2014 19:31

The UN refugee agency (UNHCR) raised concerns this week with Israel over a recent amendment made to the anti-infiltration law, saying the amendment could be breaking international law.

The amendment, passed in the Knesset last month, further limits the rights of African migrants and requires them to reside in the "open" detention facility "Holot."

"Since Holot facility is housing people who cannot be returned to their countries of origin for reasons of non-refoulement, the organization is concerned that this facility could, in effect, result in indefinite detention, with no release grounds," UNHCR spokesperson Adrian Edwards said Friday.

"Under the latest amendment, new asylum-seekers arriving in an irregular manner will automatically be detained for at least a year, as will people whose conditional release visas have expired. Difficulties in renewing visas are meanwhile growing," he added.

"UNHCR understands the challenges faced by Israel in managing the reception of migrants and asylum-seekers. However, it is important that the treatment of asylum-seekers be in line with international refugee and human rights law," Edwards concluded.

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