UN voices concern over Israel's amended law on African migrants

UN Refugee Agency: Amendment to law on the prevention of infiltration would further limit the rights of asylum-seekers.

January 13, 2014 04:07
1 minute read.
African migrants at Lewinsky Park in Tel Aviv, January 9, 2014.

African migrants at Lewinsky Park in Tel Aviv, January 9, 2014.. (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post))


Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later Don't show it again

NEW YORK – The Geneva-based UN Refugee Agency said on Friday they were concerned about the new amendment to Israel’s law on the prevention of infiltration that would “further limit the rights of asylum-seekers,” UNHCR spokesman Adrian Edwards told reporters.

In particular, Edwards said, UNHCR is concerned about the provisions of the law that require asylum seekers to live in an open-resident facility in the Negev desert, with “severe restrictions on their movement.”

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.

“The organization is concerned that this facility could, in effect, result in indefinite detention, with no release grounds,” Edwards told reporters.

Edwards also said UNHCR was concerned about automatic detention of new asylum-seekers who arrive in Israel in an “irregular manner,” as well as those whose visas have expired and who may be attempting to renew.

“UNHCR understands the challenges faced by Israel in managing the reception of migrants and asylum-seekers,” Edwards said. “However, it is important that the treatment of asylum-seekers be in line with international refugee and human rights law. All asylum-seekers should have access to fair and efficient asylum procedures, as well as efficient means to renew their existing visas.”

Last week the Foreign Ministry issued a statement saying that Israel “tries to balance the need to control its borders with the need to protect the human rights of those who enter.

Due to its adherence to international law, Israel granted protection to approximately 60,000 people without the need to prove prima facie that they have an individual claim to stay in Israel. Those individuals amount to approximately 95% of all individuals that entered Israel illegally through its southern border.”

The statement said the Population and Immigration Authority “has been examining hundreds of demands for asylum, in coordination with the UNHCR.”

All applications, the statement said, “are given thorough treatment, with priority given to those submitted by migrants staying in the Saharonim and Holot facilities. The examination is carried out in accordance with Israel’s international legal obligations, based on th UN Refugee Convention (1951). Enforcement is carried out under Israeli law and in conformity with Supreme Court rulings.”

Herb Keinon contributed to this report.

Related Content

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
August 31, 2014
Prime minister to Channel 1: I’ll be running again in next election

By Gil Stern Stern HOFFMAN