Get more Mail & Guardian
Subscribe or Login

Women asylum seekers protest against Israel

Thousands of African women and children asylum-seekers in Israel marched in Tel Aviv on Wednesday against the Jewish state's immigration policies, an Agence France-Presse correspondent said.

"We are refugees," women chanted, many of them carrying infants or pushing prams along the streets of this coastal city where most of them live.

Holding placards reading "We need freedom" and "stop racism!" they marched first to the headquarters of the UN refugee agency, UNHCR, then on to the US embassy.

Last week, the UNHCR warned that Israel could be in breach of international law with new legislation that allows for the potentially indefinite detention of asylum-seekers.

"We are seeking asylum. We're not criminals," said an Eritrean woman who only gave her name as Zabib, saying she hoped the government would grant them refugee status.

"Our kids have no legal documents so they don't have any basic rights. We have no kind of support for us and the kids … we're in survival mode," she said.

Mass demonstrations
Last week, tens of thousands of Africans held mass demonstrations for four straight days, gathering outside foreign embassies and even outside the Knesset, or Parliament, in Jerusalem.

In December, Israel approved a law allowing illegal immigrants to be detained for up to a year without trial, in the latest of a series of measures aimed at cracking down on immigration.

The government has also opened a sprawling detention facility in the Negev desert and has stepped up moves to expel illegal immigrants, saying they pose a threat to the state's Jewish character.

According to UN figures, there are currently some 53 000 refugees and asylum-seekers in Israel.

Most of them entered via the desert border with Egypt, before the Jewish state completed construction of a massive hi-tech barrier there late last year.

Some 36 000 come from Eritrea, whose regime repeatedly has been accused of widespread human rights abuses by the international community.

Another 14 000 are from conflict-torn Sudan. – Sapa-AFP

Subscribe to the M&G

Thanks for enjoying the Mail & Guardian, we’re proud of our 36 year history, throughout which we have delivered to readers the most important, unbiased stories in South Africa. Good journalism costs, though, and right from our very first edition we’ve relied on reader subscriptions to protect our independence.

Digital subscribers get access to all of our award-winning journalism, including premium features, as well as exclusive events, newsletters, webinars and the cryptic crossword. Click here to find out how to join them and receive a 40% discount on our annual rate..

Sapa Afp
Guest Author

Related stories

Advertising

Subscribers only

Shanduka shade over Free State education

Audit firm PwC said R500-million irregular expenditure incurred by the Free State education department is related to an unsolicited bid by the Kagiso Shanduka Trust to improve schools

101 party elders dominate appeals body presiding over Magashule appeal

That the majority of those who form part of the ANC’s appeals body will come from 101 elders - which faction will have the upper hand

More top stories

Ramaphosa faction dividing Limpopo — NEC hears

In a leaked recording during Saturday’s ANC national executive committee meeting, Mathabatha said he has observed ‘comrades who run around purporting to be the defenders of our president’.

ANCWL dumps Magashule as party leadership meets to discuss his...

ANCWL urges Magashule to humble himself and stop damaging the already weakened ruling party

Mashatile, Mabuza accused of pocketing ANC donations

The ANC’s financial crisis has been intensified by President Cyril Ramaphosa refusing to once again bail out the party
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…
×