As we approach the critical climate talks in Paris later this year, there are some good reasons to feel hopeful and upbeat. From the tiniest nations of the Pacific to a giant like China, developing countries are demonstrating that reducing poverty and tackling climate change can, and indeed must, go hand in hand (from Oxfam Australia).
A new report on the Holot facility exposes; substantial asylum requests of detainees rejected by Israel now about to be jailed in Saharonim indefinitely,grave shortcomings in food, rights violations in the form of punishment
We belong to the West — that is how most Israelis see themselves and their country. In Israeli public discourse, the countries of reference on almost every topic are those of Western Europe and North America. On the face of it, this sentiment has its justifications: Israel has Nobel Prize laureates in chemistry, economics and literature. Israel has satellites circling Planet Earth. Israel has academic institutions that place high on international rankings. Israeli scientists and entrepreneurs register more international technological patents than their counterparts in most other countries. Israeli films win prizes in Europe and in the United States. Israelis feel at home when traveling to the countries of Western Europe and to the United States. Yet, on most social and economic indicators, Israel ranks closer to southern and eastern European countries than to the United States or the countries of Northern and Western Europe. Israel’s median disposable household income is similar to that of Slovenia, the Czech Republic, Greece and Spain. The same is true for the average wage of Israelis. Israel’s GDP per capita is similar to that of Spain and only a bit higher than that of Slovenia and the Czech Republic. Israel’s middle class is in retreat. Israel’s poverty rate is closer to the poverty rates of South America countries like Mexico and Chile than to those of most Western
The Hotline for Refugees and Migrants' latest report, sponsored by the Heinrich Boell Foundation, is a critical analysis of Israel's Refugee Status Determination process for Eritrean and Sudanese nationals. This report builds upon the Hotline's 2012 report, titled Until our Hearts are Completely Hardened, in which they examined at length the Refugee Status Determination process for all asylum seekers. At the time, Israel's state run apparatus for protection did not accept applications from Eritrean and Sudanese nationals. Since formally accepting their applications the state has not recognized even one Sudanese refugee, and less than a handful of Eritreans. The following report addresses how the asylum policy is being applied, the shortcomings of the state's legal interpretation of the Convention relating to the Status of Refugees as well as numerous other flaws leading to the sweeping denial of refugee claims made by asylum seekers.
The Hotline for Refugees and Migrant's second monitoring report on the Holot facility covers the months of April to September 2014 in which between 2,300 asylum seekers from Sudan and Eritrea were held in the facility in Israel's south. The detainees, most of whom had been living in Israel for a number of years, were taken to the geographically isolated facility where they were far from the public eye. This report, published by the Hotline for Refugees and Migrants together with Physicians for Human Rights and with the support of the Heinreich Boell Foundation, is the only report of its type to document what is happening in Holot, the administrative issues faced by Holot residents and the effects of indefinite incarceration on the health and spirit of the detainees.
The report was published just prior to Israel's High Court decision (22.09.2014) to void the Anti-Infiltration Law under which the Holot facility was created. The report received extensive media coverage emphasizing that despite the government referring to Holot as an open facility, it is in effect a prison and is having a debilitating affect on detainees physical and mental health. As the Knesset is expected to legislate a new law before the end of 2014 this report will be fundamental to the Hotline's work to lobby the Knesset to take a more humane approach to asylum policy.