3 months to permit Holot migrants personal items, High Court tells state

“The decision clarifies to the state that it must treat the asylum seekers in Holot with dignity."

June 13, 2017 19:40
1 minute read.
Holot Eritrea

AFRICAN REFUGEES are seen leaving the Holot detention facility.. (photo credit: REUTERS/AMIR COHEN)


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The state has three months to institute a new more open policy toward permitting migrants in open detention in Holot to bring personal items into the facility, the High Court of Justice ruled Tuesday.

Lawyer Elad Kahana who filed the petition on behalf of the Tel Aviv University Clinic for Refugee Rights, the Association for Civil Rights in Israel and others, responded that, “the state over and over again claims that Holot is not a prison and yet it treats them like prisoners.”

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“The decision clarifies to the state that it must treat the asylum seekers in Holot with dignity,” he added.

The short three month deadline set down by Deputy High Court President Elyakim Rubinstein and two other justices, which he announced as part of his retirement ceremony, put heavy pressure on the state to make quick changes to its policies regarding what items migrants can bring into Holot.

 Open detention is controversial; Israel asserts it is appropriately treating migrants who illegally crossed into the country to improve the economic situation. Human rights advocates say Israel is treating them illegally, barely at the level above “real criminals,” while migrants fled to Israel to avoid persecution in their home countries.

Another related decision gave the state nine months to reduce the number of migrants kept in each room in Holot from the current standard number of 10 per room.

Even before the rulings, the state had said that it now permits migrants to bring additional items into Holot and had clarified contradictions of old regulations.

But ACRI noted that migrants are still not permitted to bring soap, deodorant and various shaving related products into Holot, with little or no rational reason for the prohibition for a sector of persons who are not considered “criminals,” even as they crossed into Israel illegally.

ACRI and its partners asserted that the root problem is that the state is trying to make migrants’ lives difficult as part of an unconstitutional policy to encourage them to leave the country.

In August 2015, the High Court rejected a 20 month open detention period for migrants in Holot as unconstitutional, but accepted a 12 month detention period.

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