Presentation on theme: "The Eritrean refugee crisis in Israel conditions in and escape from Eritrea; situation for refugees in Israel; the Israeli perspective; testimonies; what."— Presentation transcript:
The Eritrean refugee crisis in Israel conditions in and escape from Eritrea; situation for refugees in Israel; the Israeli perspective; testimonies; what to do?
Conditions in Eritrea Military dictatorship since independence from Ethiopia in 1990s: The North Korea of Africa Private media and opposition parties illegal Illegal imprisonment and torture of citizens Forced and indefinite military service for all adult males: slave labor, no salary or vacation Deserting the army or crossing the border is considered political opposition: torture/death
Escape from Eritrea Mass exodus: 1 million of 5 million Eritreans live outside the country (20% of population) Common escape routes: Ethiopia and Sudan, from there to Egypt – Israel or Libya – Italy (Europe) Frequent kidnappings in Sudan and Ethiopia with month-long forced stay in Sinai and torture to exhort money from family members
Situation for Eritreans in Israel Illegal for government to deport refugees threatened with death/torture at home No determination of status: no work permit, hard to find housing, no future plans possible Change of policy after international pressure: individual asylum applications now possible Less than 1% of Eritreans asylum seekers are recognized as refugees (over 75% in Europe)
The Holot Detention Center Opened in remote part of Negev desert in 2013 for indefinite detention of refugees Up to 3500 spaces, 500 already deported Prison-like conditions: locked-in at night, no work, roll call 3x daily = unable to leave Goal to make people leave voluntarily Protest march from Holot to Jerusalem in Dec. 2013 / hunger strikes
The Israeli Perspective New problem: 90% of 55 000 refugees (35 000 Eritrea) arrived since 2007 Israel = Jewish state – non-Jewish immigrants threat to identity? controversial topic: Minister of interior says most refugees are criminals and a „cancer in the body of Israel“ (2012)
Arguments about refugees 1. „too many and more will come“: 50 000/8 million inhabitants - but new border fence with Egypt since 2013: hardly new arrivals 2. „take away jobs“: Israeli unemployment rate 2013: 7%, economic growth 2013: 3,5% and ‘Aliyah’ policy allows unlimited Jewish migration regardless of qualifications 3. „just economic migrants“: testimonies show massive political persecution; refugees risk death fleeing; arrival to Israel not voluntarily
Testimonies Man forced to work as prison guard and to torture other prisoners – himself imprisoned and tortured after he helped prisoners to escape Man forced to shoot people who were caught trying to flee the country and subjected to slave labour – joined illegal opposition party in Israel Woman imprisoned and tortured as punishment for husband‘s escape Student jailed and tortured for listening to foreign radio stations
What to do? Solidarity visit to Holot Detention Center with African Dance and Music Donate: soap (solid and liquid), shower gel, toothpaste, toothbrushes, pre-paid cards Get training to fill out asylum seeker applications Meet refugees in Eilat Spread the word!
Humanity in Action Non-profit organization for education about human rights (since 1997, in Poland since 2006) Promotes intercultural dialogue and understanding and organizes internships Annual cost-free summer fellowship (June) in Poland for university students and graduates from the United States, Germany, France, Denmark, the Netherlands, Poland, Turkey, Ukraine and Bosnia Learn more: www.humanityinaction.org/polandwww.humanityinaction.org/poland