Refugees and Rights Organizations Petition High Court to Overturn Law to Prevent Infiltration

Saharonim Detention Center

Six human rights organizations filed the petition today (October 4) on behalf of themselves and five Eritrean asylum seekers – including a child – being held indefinitely in detention camps. The petition asks the High Court of Justice to overturn the Law to Prevent Infiltration. 
Over 2,000 men women and children are currently being held under authority of the law, and the government intends to jail thousands more, including families and children in the near future.  Because of the difficult conditions at the detention centers and the dangers they present to vulnerable prisoners such as young children, the petition seeks an expedited hearing.
The Knesset passed the law in January 2012 as an amendment to the Law to Prevent Infiltration, and began implementing it on July 3.  The law purports to authorize the administrative detention of migrants without a trial for a minimum term of three years.  Most of the people being held under the law are citizens of Sudan and Eritrea, countries to which the Israeli government itself recognizes that it cannot deport people because of their expected fate upon their return.
The Law to Prevent Infiltration renders the right to liberty meaningless for many thousands of people, and deprives them of any legal defense.  The purpose of this administrative detention is not to deport but rather to make the lives of the asylum seekers unbearable, as the Minister of Interior Eli Yishai said.
The petition argues that Israeli and international law prohibit the detention of migrants in cases where they cannot be deported; that the administrative detention of asylum seekers, children among them, who suffered trauma intensifies the trauma and is likely to harm the health and well being of those who are detained; and that deterrence is not an appropriate purpose for detention.  For these reasons, and because the Law to Prevent Infiltration violates the Basic Law: Human Dignity and Liberty, the petition asks the High Court of Justice to strike down the law.
The petition was filed by Attorney Yonatan Berman of the Clinic for Migrants’ Rights at the Academic Center of Law and Business in Ramat Gan, Attorney Anat Ben Dor of the Refugee Rights Clinic at the Tel Aviv University Faculty of Law, Attorney Oded Feller of the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI), and Attorney Asaf Weitzen of the Hotline for Migrant Workers.  ASSAF – Aid Organization for Refugees and Asylum Seekers in Israel, The African Refugee Development Center (ADRC), and Kav La’Oved are also named as petitioners.
To read excerpts from the petition translated to English, click here.

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Categories: Democracy and Civil Liberties, Refugees and Asylum-Seekers

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2 Responses to Refugees and Rights Organizations Petition High Court to Overturn Law to Prevent Infiltration

  1. Pingback: Urgent action: Israel to jail 15,000 Sudanese refugees on Oct 15 | Jewschool