The Association for Civil Rights in Israel and five other human rights groups
filed a petition in the Jerusalem District Court on behalf of six asylum seekers
seeking an injunction to prevent Interior Minister Eli Yishai from imprisoning
According to an ACRI press release, five of the
Sudanese petitioners are from the region of Darfur.
The press release
references an announcement by Yishai
at the end of August that all Sudanese
migrants will have until October 15 to leave Israel, after which they will be
arrested and detained.
ACRI alleged that in interviews with the media,
the interior minister said that the purpose of these detentions would be to make
the lives of the Sudanese migrants unbearable.
“If this policy is
enacted, thousands of Sudanese asylum seekers along with their children will be
hunted down, arrested en masse, and detained indefinitely in extreme conditions
in the desert. Included among these people are survivors of genocide and other
atrocities in Darfur and other areas,” said the press release.
to the release, the petition argues that the detentions announced by Yishai are
arbitrary, since there is no legal or practical possibility of returning
Sudanese citizens to their country, that Yishai lacks the authority to carry out
his plans as such authority belongs to the defense minister and that even if
Yishai had the authority, the plan is unlawful because its purpose is
The press release refers to an October 2 letter
supporting its efforts from the Israel representative to the UN High
Commissioner for Refugees.
Yishai responded, labeling the “migrant
problem” as one of the “greatest threats to our future and our identity as
Jewish Zionist state.”
He added that he would do “all he could” to
“return every last migrant” to their country of origin despite any criticism.