Sudanese refugees in Doro refugee camp 370 R.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Israel will grant temporary residence status to 300 Sudanese asylum seekers who fled genocide from the Nuba Mountains, Blue Nile and Darfur, the Interior Ministry's Population and Immigration Authority confirmed on Thursday.
The decision comes after a petition filed to the High Court by attorneys Carmel Pomerantz and Michael Pomerantz in March on behalf of the Nuba and Blue Nile community, demanding that asylum seekers from those areas be granted legal status.
According to a report by Haaretz
, of the 400 asylum seekers from those areas, the state will grant status only to those who are 41-years-and older who entered Israel by 2012 and applied for asylum or to 40-year-old asylum seekers who entered by November 2011.
The Population and Immigration Authority would not provide The Jerusalem Post
with an explanation regarding these criteria, saying only that: “This is the decision that was made. We have nothing further to add.”
Though the A5 humanitarian visa is a step below refugee status, it will allow its recipients to work and receive health insurance, as well as travel and driving documents.
Unlike most of the mid-30,000 migrants in Israel which the state is trying to deport or press to leave, the change would mean the state views the Nuba Sudanese to have the same special persecuted status as the Darfurians in terms of having fled genocide
The Pomerantz lawyers said they welcome the decision to start to give status to the Nubians and added: “We call for the immediate settlement of the status of all Sudanese refugees from Darfur, the Nuba and the Blue Nile. The government now gives residency to some of the refugees, but continues to try to discourage the rest and make them leave Israel, for example by stealing 20% of their salaries.”
Last year, Israel enforced a new law that employers must deduct 20% of the wages of Eritrean and Sudanese employees who entered Israel illegally from Egypt and don’t have legal status.
Yonah Jeremy Bob contribute to this report
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