Israel turns back African migrants: HRW

2012-10-29 09:05

Jerusalem - Israel has turned back dozens of African asylum-seekers, mostly Eritreans, trying to enter the country from Egypt, Human Rights Watch and two other NGOs said on Sunday.

"Since June, Israeli forces patrolling Israel's newly constructed ... border fence with Egypt's Sinai region have denied entry to dozens of Africans, mostly Eritreans," HRW and Israeli NGOs the Hotline for Migrant Workers and Physicians for Human Rights said in a joint statement.

"Thousands of [Eritrean asylum-seekers] flee persecution in their country every year.

"In forcing asylum seekers and refugees to remain in Egypt and in deporting others, Israel is putting them at risk of prolonged detention in Egyptian prisons and police stations where they cannot claim asylum," it added.

They also face "forcible return to Eritrea, and serious abuse by traffickers in the Sinai region".

The NGOs implored Israeli to abandon its policy, reminding the Jewish state it signed the 1951 Refugee Convention in Geneva, which requires "all countries to respect the principle of nonrefoulement", a principle of international law which prohibits turning over a victim of persecution to his persecutor.

'Blacks out!'

"Not only are there credible reports that Israeli soldiers are blocking asylum seekers at the border, but also that they are using violence to do so," HRW lawyer Gerry Simpson said.

According to the UN refugee agency (UNHCR), more than 80% of Eritreans seeking asylum throughout the world are recognised as refugees, the statement added.

More than 60 000 Africans are estimated to be living in Israel illegally, most of them in run-down neighbourhoods of southern Tel Aviv.

Most are Sudanese and Eritreans who entered from Egypt's Sinai Peninsula.

Rising tensions over the growing number of illegal immigrants exploded in May when a protest in south Tel Aviv turned ugly, with demonstrators smashing African-run shops and property, chanting "Blacks out!"

Israel's construction of a nearly 250km fence running the length of its border with Egypt is due for completion by year end.

  • derek.bredenkamp.3 - 2012-10-29 09:19

    What else can you expect from an Apartheid state? Everyone is welcome, as long as you're white and rich.

      ray.molekoa.5 - 2012-10-29 09:32

      Ja but Africans , we destroy everything in our countries and then look elsewhere where things are in order and what do we do when we get there , sell liquor , drugs and turn the women into prostitutes , corrupting everything . I gree with israel . I still miss our own group areas act .

      omo.naija.750 - 2012-10-29 09:57

      What are you guys doing there???? Israel of all places??? Don't you read the news??? Go back home ,you are better off there.

      bibi.vanzyl - 2012-10-29 12:10

      This is nothing to do with being white, so to speak. Israelis are not only white. You will find Jews in almost every African country and they are clearly not white. Eritrea is a volitile (failed, I might add) state with mainly extremists and it is mainly a security issue. It you keep up with the news - they've had lots of violent uprisings - started by refugees.

      bibi.vanzyl - 2012-10-29 12:12

      @Omonaija: Eritrea is a failed state with a very bleak outlook for normal citizens. Violence and terrorism occurs on a daily basis and there is nothing left. But yes, being Muslims why did they not stay in Egypt?

  • richard.bosmano - 2012-10-29 09:19

    Why would black muslims be trying to gain entry into "racist apartheid Israel." All the anti Israel hype perhaps a lot of BS. Screw the illegals,they can go back to hell.

      larry.lachman.54 - 2012-10-29 21:04

      Maybe your little world of one. Lesego.

  • kobus.hattingh.5 - 2012-10-29 09:21

    Congratulations Israel. Now doubt you see what our "rainbow" nations have become like. Dont become another welfare state :)

  • moses.mabhida.52 - 2012-10-29 09:30

    'Blacks out!' Come on! I have been to Israel! This reporting reeks of bias and anti-Israel propaganda. Israel is protecting her borders from illegal migration... I repeat ILLEGAL... funny how this article fails to illustrate or talk about the non-black illegals that Israel has sent back to their home like the Pilipino and Thai workers. Ask yourselves why these Muslim asylum seekers desire to go to Israel rather then the 50 Muslim & Arab countries on this planet they could pick from; this fact in itself is confirmation that Israel is not a racially prejudiced country like the anti-Israel camp would have you believe. I have been to Israel – it is a melting pot of Jewish cultures from Poland to Brazil, from Morocco to India, moreover Israel has a large (15%) Muslim population - a Population that has been voting in Israeli elections for over 60 years unlike the rest of their Arab brethren, furthermore Israel has the ONLY Christian population in the Middle East that is increasing in numbers, and like the Jews & Muslims of Israel they too enjoy full democratic rights.. Lastly and more importantly, it is the duty of our own government to stop the tide of illegal immigration into South Africa. Our unemployment can not handle more job seekers... maybe our government should learn a thing or two from Israel on how progressive & democratic nations ought to protect their borders.

  • moses.mabhida.52 - 2012-10-29 09:33

    One more point: The 1951 Refugee Convention in Geneva, which requires "all countries to respect the principle of nonrefoulement", a principle of international law which prohibits turning over a victim of persecution to his persecutor. The war in Eritrea is over - these people are economic asylum seekers not ones whose life is in danger - that is why Israel will not let them in and rightfully so.

  • parys.fotograaf - 2012-10-29 10:28

    I can find no reason to blame them for this. They understand that these people will just create a burden on their won economy and taxpayer, something the idiot RSA regime has decided to ignore.

  • cleve.fletcher - 2012-10-29 10:50

    I am a bit confused at this story. Human Rights Watch are busy slagging Israel for not allowing asylum seekers into the country because of the brutal and oppressive policies of the Egyptian government against the said asylum seekers and the Israelis are the bad guys? Surely they (HRW) should be having a go at the Egyptian barbarians from which the refugees are fleeing? Talk about biased reporting...

      larry.lachman.54 - 2012-10-29 11:08

      Quite right. HRW should be very busy in Syria mopping up blood instead.

      RManne - 2012-10-29 11:17

      It always amazes me how, no matter who is really in the wrong, they'll ALWAYS try and portray Israel as the bad guys.

  • peter.cornelius.39 - 2012-10-29 10:59

    SUCH biased reporting. To echo this threads sentiment: If Israel is such a bad place, then why are so many trying to get in?

  • audrey.sabag - 2012-10-29 11:34

    In one breath N24 reports that Israel is turning away African immigrants (mostly muslim - lets not forget, the great apartheid state of Israel!), in the next breath states there are more than 60,000 African immigrants living there ILLEGALLY!!!!!! Helloooooo... where does the madness end? Stop blaming Israel for everything and look at your own damn self to see if you are making the change you can in the world. The African muslims are very happy to receive all the free hand outs from Israel because their own useless countries cannot and will not support them, and the minute they are happy and fed, they are all crying how Israel is an apartheid state, and join their brothers in the jihad against Israel, blah, blah, blah. Usual story. Pathetic.

  • scholesss - 2012-10-29 11:44

    one would criticise israel, as racists.terrorit but people still wanna go there for refuge. then it means jus israel is not a bad country then

  • allan.m.levitt - 2012-10-29 11:51

    The HRW is a joke. Attack Israel for not letting them in, then attack Israel because they are not treated properly. Maybe HRW anti-semites should go to the Egyptian- Israeli border and tell prospective refugees to go somewhere else!!

  • john.cryink - 2012-10-29 12:06

    Funny Israel is a hated state by afrikca but africans want to flee there. They do not want to flee to palestine wonder why?

      larry.lachman.54 - 2012-10-29 12:44

      If any ethnic group have been mistreated by the Arabs, it is the Africans that have taken the brunt. The Arabs enslaved Africans long before the Europeans, with the only difference being that they continue to do so today, whereas the West has abolished slavery decades ago.

      tom.poe.12 - 2012-10-29 12:50

      well they dont want to flee to the Palestinian territories because life is hard there as well under the Israeli seige. From the pot into the fire.....

      larry.lachman.54 - 2012-10-29 21:07

      Whatever Lesego. Arab, Jewish...whatever.

  • tom.poe.12 - 2012-10-29 12:52

    Israel is the last man standing for all you previously previleged people who still have fond memories of the the old Apartheid days here in SA.....

      bram.camina - 2012-10-29 13:03

      Who exactly are these previously privileged people?

      richard.bosmano - 2012-10-29 13:14

      The only real comparison is that the anc is just like hamas,little more then terrorists that should all be executed

  • tom.poe.12 - 2012-10-29 12:54

    Black or African Jews in israel live a far lower standard of life than their European counterparts.....the rate of poverty amongst Black Jews in Israel is also far is the suicide rate.

      john.cryink - 2012-10-29 14:32

      Stil africans run there and not palastine

      larry.lachman.54 - 2012-10-29 15:05

      ...or anywhere else in Arab Middle east for that matter.

      larry.lachman.54 - 2012-10-29 21:08

      Did you have an epiphany Lesego? Why, why why?

  • tsietsi.gagai - 2012-10-29 16:22

    Israel shud be de last country to deny entry of ppl who escape persecution. Hv they 4gton Hitler nd Nazi?

      richard.bosmano - 2012-10-29 16:34

      Being an economic migrant(taking israeli jobs) is vastly different to being persecuted.

      Raymon - 2012-10-29 16:39

      ag siestog tsietsi. You have no idea what you are talking about .. clearly.

      larry.lachman.54 - 2012-10-29 21:09

      Stupidity does not come with the colour of skin, but the colour of thinking.

  • Raymon - 2012-10-29 16:37

    News24 is managed by pro-Muslim, anti-Semitic editors. This article is proof of that!

  • craig.thom.376 - 2012-10-29 16:58

    I like Israel they have big brass balls

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