WASHINGTON -- The US State Department in its latest human rights report elevated its criticism of Israel’s treatment of African refugees.
The report for 2012, issued April 19, said “the treatment of refugees, asylum seekers, and irregular migrants” was a “most significant” human rights problem. That was added to the three areas singled out by the department in the 2011 report: terrorist attacks against civilians, which the reports blame principally on Hamas forces in the Gaza Strip; Israel’s discrimination against its Arab citizens; and discrimination against women.
In the 2012 report, the “Protection of Refugees” section singles out the Israeli government allowing nongovernmental groups only limited access to the refugees -- a practice the 2011 report does not mention.
The report also notes that “the government significantly increased its capacity to detain and hold illegal migrants during the year by enlarging existing detention facilities and constructing the first wing of a new 10,000-bed facility.”