Foreign workers children 311 R.
(photo credit: Reuters)
One of the hot issues in the 2013 State Comptroller’s Report is the description
of the state’s agencies violating the domestic Law of the Child as well as the
UN Convention on the Rights of the Child regarding resident minors who are not
Israel became obligated by the UN Convention on the Rights of
the Child when it ratified the convention in 1991.
In the report, State
Comptroller Joseph Shapira notes that since 2006 a large number of minors, with
no status as citizens, have lived in Israel.
Without identifying them as
African migrants and while not referring only to those migrants (the report said
it encompasses around 211,000 persons, of whom only a third could be described
as African migrants), the document alludes to a large group, noting that many of
the minors have entered the country illegally via the Egyptian border since
Still, the report said that the state has domestic and
international obligations to defend these children’s rights and their welfare as
well as to protect them from discrimination and from being punished because of
their status, and that the state is failing to meet many of its
“The heart is tormented at the sight of an infant which is
left for many hours in conditions of neglect and filth,” the report
The public’s heart was torn by “the sight of a youngster that is
left for long months in a detention facility, after enduring harsh situations
and even experiencing physical and emotional harm on the way to Israel,” Shapira
The “values of Israel” must be preserved regarding these minors,
said the report.
The defects in dealing with non-citizen resident minors
that it identified “indicate the need for a substantial change to the policies
of some of the authorities whose activities were reviewed.”
heavily criticized a Social Services and Welfare Ministry decision in 2009 to
only assist non-citizen resident minors if they were explicitly in danger, but
not to assist those who were in difficult socioeconomic circumstances, as it
does with Israeli citizens.
It indicated that the decision had been taken
with no real review of the problem, no collecting of information on the issue
and no intergovernmental consultations.
Shapira said he had been told
that the decision was taken because of budget problems, but he responded that
budget problems were not a justification for violating minors’ domestic and
international fundamental rights.