We did it! Human dignity beyond the barbed wire

Dear Friends,


We did it! Every week I write to you about the uphill battles inherent to our work as we fight to protect human rights in Israel. But there are also rewarding days, like this past Tuesday. I have not felt this excited in a long time! Supreme Court Judge Elyakim Rubinstein chose to leave his post by accepting two of the petitions we filed together with partner organizations that focus on the right to live in dignity.


The first petition addresses the severe overcrowding in prisons and detention facilities in Israel. Currently, prisoners and detainees do not have the minimum living space required to live with dignity. The High Court of Justice instructed the State to ensure that within 18 months, every prisoner and detainee will be allocated a living space no less than the international standard: 4.5 square meters, which includes a toilet and shower. This is one of the most dramatic rulings in ACRI’s history. If implemented fully, it will revolutionize Israel’s prison system.


The second petition concerns the Holot, a detention facility in the Negev desert where asylum seekers are held. The Court ruled that the State must maintain the rights to privacy and dignity of all those in the facility, and as such, must limit the number of detainees from ten to six housed in each room. The High Court of Justice also ruled that detainees be allowed to bring personal belongings into the facility.


These rulings are significant for prisoners, detainees and asylum seekers – but they also have a broader significance. They remind us once again that human rights must be bestowed upon every human being. They are neither contingent on one’s civil or economic status, nor on good behavior. They also remind us that a society is judged first by how it treats its disadvantaged populations; those who do not have power, money or political influence must be protected!


The rulings handed down this week are momentous and important, and I am proud and delighted to share them with you, our supporters. We do not achieve milestones like this every day, and there is still so much more to do. With your support and assistance in our work, we will continue to make strides in the fight for a just society that upholds the right of every human being to live in dignity. We need your resolve. Make a donation to ACRI today. Our success is your success.



Adv. Sharon Abraham-Weiss
Executive Director
The Association for Civil Rights in Israel


We submitted the petition on overcrowding in prison facilities together with the Legal Clinic for Human Rights in the Ramat Gan College of Law and Business and Physicians for Human Rights. Attorneys Anne Suciu and Oded Feller represented ACRI and Attorney Sigal Shahav represented the Clinic.

The petition on the Holot facility was submitted together with the Legal Clinic at the College of Management Academic Studies, The Refugee Rights Clinic at Tel Aviv University and the Hotline for Refugees and Migrants. Attorney Oded Feller represented ACRI, Attorney Avinoam Cohen from the College of Management and Attorney Elad Kahana from the Clinic at Tel Aviv University.

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

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