Following a Petition by Human Rights Organizations to the High Court: Asylum-seekers and migrants are no longer required to report to the inaccessible branch of the Ministry of the Interior at Ben Gurion Airport as a condition of their release.
Following a petition from the Hotline for Refugees and Migrants, ACRI and Physicians for Human Rights-Israel to the High Court of Justice; asylum-seekers and West-African citizens are now able to report to MOI offices in Tel-Aviv and Hadera, as opposed to the inaccessible branch located in the Western Operations Division at Ben Gurion Airport. The organizations’ request to allow people to report to other MOI offices around the country, closer to their homes, was rejected.
The process of reporting applies to a number of asylum-seekers after they are released from Saharonim prison, as well as West-African citizens who can be deported due to lack of diplomatic relations between Israel and their home country. West-African citizens are not allowed to work in Israel. According to the procedure, which organizations petitioned against in April 2015; any foreign person who is conditionally released from jail must report to the MOI branch once a week at the Western Operations Division. The office is inaccessible, there is no signage indicating where it is located, and getting there takes a long first by train and then quite a while on foot. Anyone who does not meet the conditions of their release, or has issues when arriving for reporting can be arrested immediately and sent back to prison. Some 550 men, asylum-seekers, will report to the MOI office in Tel Aviv, and around 150 people, the majority West-African citizens will report to the MOI office in Hadera.
Attorneys Oded Feller and Rachel Friedman, who filed the petition commented: “We are excited that the reporting procedure has been cancelled which forced people to travel to an inaccessible place, however, the new situation is also problematic. We’re talking about only two offices nationwide; hundreds of people will be forced to travel, often too far from their homes, which involve a high financial cost in terms of travel, especially as some of them are not allowed to work. It should be remembered that these men are coming from a disadvantaged population and their ability to be mobile [far distances] is not an easy task. Even after the change in this policy, it is feared that many people will still not be able to meet the requirements, and will be more vulnerable to arrest.”