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Jerusalem: Protest with Refugees & Asylum Seekers

Protest with the Refugees and Asylum Seekers for their Rights

The protest will take place on Monday, 5 June 2006 and will begin at 10:30 in front of the Prime Minister’s office in Jerusalem. Afterwards, the protest will move on to the Ben-Yehuda Pedestrian Mall for a march which will end at Zion Square with speakers and music. The organizers will present a letter with their demands to the Prime Minister.

Refugee and human rights organizations call upon the Israeli society to absorb the asylum seekers and protest the Israeli government’s policies regarding asylum seekers

1) About 200 survivors of the massacre in Darfur, Sudan, crossed the Egyptian-Israeli border into Israel and were imprisoned for an extended time. Refugees have been held for several months without any judicial review of their detention. Instead of seeing them as victims in need of aid, Israel defines them as a “security threat”.

2) Hundreds of asylum seekers in Israel, many of them Africans, receive temporary protection in Israel, but this protection does not include health services or any other welfare service in spite of their vulnerability and the difficult traumas they suffer from.

3) 72 asylum seekers from Ethiopia, whose requests for refuge were refused by the UNHCR, are imprisoned in Israel for about two years, even though their release, even under restrictive conditions, may greatly aid their attempts to immigrate to other countries.

4) About 60 refugees from Sierra Leone who resided in Israel legally since 1999, due to the brutal civil war in the country, are now being told to leave. Their children have grown up in Israel and are now supposed to be moved to one of the most dangerous and underdeveloped countries in the world.

5) Annually about 20 people, who if returned to their home countries would find their lives in danger, receive refugee status in Israel. These people receive a temporary residency card and are supposed to be able to begin rebuilding their lives, but the Ministry of the Interior does not allow them to receive permanent residency status and forces them to live as insecure refugees.

The demand to be made at the protest:

1) Treat the survivors of the massacre in Darfur as victims seeking asylum and not as citizens of an enemy state

2) End the deportation of the Ethiopian and Sierra Leonean asylum seekers and to ease their attempts to immigrate to other western countries.

3) To have the social rights of the asylum seekers and the right of the recognized refugees to become Israeli citizens officially recognized and institutionalized by the state.

For those coming from Tel Aviv, the buses will leave from the area on Levinsky St., near the new Central Bus Station, at 9:00.

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