Pro-African migrants rally in south TA 370.
(photo credit: Ben Hartman)
The Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) released its annual report
reviewing the major trends in the human rights situation for 2013, on
Leading into international Human Rights Day on December 10, ACRI
published its report noting problems with treatment of weaker sectors of
society, discrimination against Israeli Arabs, African migrants’ rights and
protesters’ rights (being harmed by police).
The report especially
highlighted what it called new violations of social rights, especially of weaker
Examples given by the report of such violations,
included: rolling back subsidies for young children and the elderly, cutting off
the supply of water to people who could not afford timely payment and the
elimination of public housing.
Generally, it said that the state also
failed to meet any goal of treating the weaker sectors with dignity, as required
constitutionally, partially due to a failure to define even minimum concrete
benchmarks in order to achieve that goal.
The report also notes a rise in
racist attacks against Israeli-Arabs and discrimination in the workplace, in
particular in the banking sector.
ACRI said that many laws entertaining
and currently being evaluated by the Knesset will only exacerbate discrimination
against Israeli Arabs.
The report blasted what it called the state’s
attempt to circumvent the High Court of Justice’s mid-September ruling, striking
down an unconstitutional state policy for abusing migrants’ rights, by passing a
new law in the Knesset that will still contain aspects of the same policy that
was struck down.
ACRI specifically mentioned the proposed bill’s placing
new migrants, illegally crossing the border, in detention for one year, and
placing migrants already present in an “open” detention center in the middle of
the desert for an indefinite period.
The report also recounted the
state’s sending 24 Eritreans back to Eritrea on a “voluntary” basis in July
before the High Court had ruled, and where the circumstances of being in
detention and feeling under threat precluded any real voluntary
This clearly violated the Eritreans rights and endangered their
lives, said the report.
ACRI CEO Hagai Elad said, “The annual report is a
reminder of how much more work there is to do to improve the defense of the
rights of the sons and daughters of Israel.”
He said, “But with our joint
efforts, we hold in our hands the power to change the situation, not only to be
those who raise [attention] to harming rights, but also to be the generators of