Israel approved just 4 refugee requests out of 2,593 in 2013

PIBA presents figures to Knesset Committee for foreign workers; report shows approval of 540 out of 1,133 "humanitarian" requests since 2009.

October 15, 2013 17:30
2 minute read.
African migrants stand on their balconies at an apartment block in south Tel Aviv.

African migrants stand on their balconies 370. (photo credit: REUTERS)


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Only 4 applicants were given refugee status so far in 2013, out of 2,593 who submitted requests, the Population, Immigration, and Borders Authority said Tuesday.

The four applicants included a man from South Sudan, a man from Rwanda and a man and a woman whose country is listed as “other”. The four are part of a total of only 26 asylum seekers granted refugee status out of 17,194 requests submitted since 2009, according to the tablet.

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The figures were presented to a meeting of the Knesset Committee for foreign workers, where representatives of the Interior and Justice ministries were asked to brief MKs on progress made in dealing with a recent Supreme Court decision on the infiltrators law. In mid-September, the Supreme Court overturned the amendment to the Infiltration Law, which allowed Israel to jail migrants in detention centers for three years pending a review of their refugee status.

A glance at the tablet presented by PIBA also shows that three citizens of North Korea were given refugee status in 2010 and 2011, and that in 2012, a Mongolian woman was given status. In addition, since 2009 a total of 7 people whose country is listed only as “other” were given status.

The report stated that in 2013 alone, 864 migrants agreed to leave Israel while they were detained in the Saharonim center in southern Israel, as opposed to 482 in 2012 and 326 in 2011. The center houses a population that is almost entirely Eritrean and Sudanese, the two countries whose citizens make up the overwhelming majority of Israel’s more than 60,000 African migrants.

The figures also say that 106 Eritrean nationals left Israel in 2013, out of 279 Eritreans since 2010. In addition, 1,124 Sudanese citizens left Israel in 2013, a slight drop from 2012, when 1,192 left, but much higher than 2011 when 475 left Israel.

The report also shows that Israel has approved a relatively large number of requests to stay in Israel for “humanitarian reasons”, 540 out of 1,133 submitted since 2009.

During the meeting, the representatives did not present a government plan for how to deal with the Supreme Court decision, though

MK Ayelet Shaked (Bayit Yehudi) said that in the coming days the Prime Minister will be presented with a plan that proposes that asylum seekers be jailed for a year and a half in an open facility. The statement was keeping with media reports made Tuesday in the Israeli press, stating that Sa’ar, the Interior Ministry, and the Justice Ministry are working to formulate a plan that will see migrants still jailed just not for as long, in an attempt to get around the Supreme Court decision.

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