NGO: State detained Sudanese of Darfur until mid-March despite pledge

A recent report also sheds light on the treatment of transgender migrants, who are often placed in isolation in violation of their rights.

March 27, 2018 01:27
2 minute read.
NGO: State detained Sudanese of Darfur until mid-March despite pledge

An African migrant holds an Israeli flag after being released from Holot detention centre in Israel's southern Negev desert August 25, 2015.. (photo credit: REUTERS/AMIR COHEN)

The state continued to detain Sudanese migrants from Darfur until just weeks ago, despite assurances to the courts that it would cease the practice, a 2017 annual report on detention conditions by an NGO said on Tuesday.

On October 10, 2016, the state notified the courts that it would cease detaining Sudanese from Darfur in light of their special endangered status, according to a report by the Hotline for Refugees and Migrants.

The state said that part of the reason was that many of them had filed refugee requests, which have gone unanswered, but the context also appeared to include a recognition of their special endangered status.

Instead, the state continued summoning Darfurians to detention centers based on the idea that until they hold an interview proving their Darfurian status, that special status is suspect, said the report.

The practice only stopped in mid-March when the state closed the Holot facility where it had been summoning them to.
Israel's migrant deportation plays on Jewish 'moral compass' February 6, 2018 (Reuters)

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But the Hotline explained that a large number of these migrants have clearly stamped passports and other documents showing they are from Darfur.

In other words, a simple check without resorting to detention pending a more formal interview would suffice to check their statuses.

Further, the report said that the interviews do not occur within the 20 days which are promised to the migrants and often do not occur at all if the migrants do not procure a written letter from the Hotline or a court order.

The picture painted by the NGO is an attempt to keep within the letter of the state’s commitment while still employing aggressive detention tactics to try to get even Darfurian migrants to leave.

The report also sheds light on the treatment of transgender migrants.

It says that transgender migrants are often placed in isolation in violation of their rights.

The US, England and Canada all have had evolving policies, many of which have been criticized, regarding transgender prisoners, but The Jerusalem Post did not find another example of isolation as a tactic.

In addition, the report criticized the small living areas for migrants in the detention centers, saying the issue was especially problematic in light of there being fewer migrants in detention in 2017 than in the past.

The report did compliment the authorities on improving access to social workers, to medical care and to access to submitting police complaints against detention guards for roughing them up.

Calling detention a tactic of last resort, the Hotline called on the state to release the migrants from detention and use softer tactics to address the issue.

Hotline CEO Shirley Rekach said, “For years, Israel has detained people in place of a migrant policy and has refused to give refugee status to those deserving of it or to offer alternatives to detention to candidates for deportation.”

She called on the state to reverse course and recognize the reality that many migrants would remain in Israel permanently.

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