Human Rights Watch slams Israel

2012-06-10 13:04
African migrants protected by Israeli border police, background, look on to an anti-African migrant protest, not seen, in Tel Aviv, Israel. (Ariel Schalit, AP)

African migrants protected by Israeli border police, background, look on to an anti-African migrant protest, not seen, in Tel Aviv, Israel. (Ariel Schalit, AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Jerusalem - Human Rights Watch on Sunday urged Israel to repeal or amend a law that allows migrants to be detained without charge for up to three years, calling it a violation of "basic rights."

The New York-based group said the new law "punishes asylum seekers for irregularly crossing into Israel, in violation of their basic rights."

"Subjecting irregular border-crossers to potential indefinite detention without charge or access to legal representation would violate the prohibition against arbitrary detention under international human rights law," it said.

Israel announced on 3 June that officials would be able to detain migrants who crossed into the Jewish state illegally for up to three years, as part of a bid to stem the flow of African migrants into the country.

But Human Rights Watch said the law stood to stoke anger against migrants, which erupted last month when a protest by around 1 000 people against the rising number of Africans in Israel turned violent.

"Israeli officials are not only adding rhetorical fuel to the xenophobic fire, but they now have a new law that punishes refugees in violation of international law," said Human Rights Watch's refugee programme director Bill Frelick in a statement.

"The law should be amended immediately, and not enforced until necessary revisions are made."

Interior ministry statistics show there are approximately 60 000 African immigrants who have entered Israel illegally. Some are refugees fleeing persecution in their home nations, but others are economic migrants.

During the protest last month, demonstrators went on the rampage, attacking African-run shops and smashing up a car driven by two African men.

Police said afterwards that 20 people had been arrested on suspicion of vandalising shops and attacking cars driven by Africans, but there were no injuries.

Migrants have subsequently been targeted in several attacks, including the firebombing of an apartment in Jerusalem last week.

The riots sparked shock in Israel, but also prompted top-level calls for the immediate arrest and expulsion of tens of thousands of African migrants, most of whom come from Sudan, South Sudan and Eritrea.

Read more on:    israel  |  middle east peace

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Miley Cyrus can’t get enough of her new puppy

Miley's new dog is too adorable.



13 guilty pets
Meet SA's top poacher-catcher
The unusual pets of Instagram
Bertie sets a new world record!

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts

Plant some seeds. Your innovative mind is on fire and your ingenious ideas may just be the seeds for future projects. You may more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.