African Migrants Protest Against Detention Without Charge Law In Israel

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Written by Kevin Mwanza

African refugees living in Israel have staged protest for the last two days, marching on public squares, foreign embassies and government offices in the hope that international attention will provide an opportunity to remain in the country they are being threatened with arrest and detention without charge.

Last month the Israel’s parliament moved to ensure African migrants who enter the country illegally can be held without charge for being in the country unlawfully, despite a Supreme Court ruling that had struck down a previous detention law.

The law set a maximum detention period of one year for new illegal migrants, a change from a term of up to three years stipulated in a previous law annulled by the court in September, TIME.com reported

But with a newly-built Israeli border fence effectively choking off what had been a stream of African migrants crossing from Egypt, the new law could also have an impact on some of the estimated 50,000 mainly Sudanese and Eritrean nationals already in the Jewish state, which ironically was created for refugees.

Under the law, their detention would be open-ended, pending resolution of their asylum requests, implementation of deportation orders or voluntary repatriation.

“We are the Israeli government three simple things. First is to cancel the new law and to release all the prisoners. Second is to check our asylum request in a fair and transparent way. Third is to give the basic human rights including right to health services,” Dawit Domuz, an Eritrean migrant and one of the protest organizers told Reuters.