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End Child Detention Project

Approximately 83,000 migrant workers and 52,000 asylum seekers live in Israel today. Due to the lack of migration policy in Israel, many of the said migrants reside in Israel with no legal status and no opportunity to obtain legal status.

As part of the immigration authorities’ means of coping with undocumented migrants, migrants and asylum seekers are arrested and detained, among them a significant number of children who find themselves behind bars for periods of time ranging from a number of days to several months. The arrest and detention of children has become a common procedure in the Israeli authorities’ conduct toward migrants who have family members in Israel. Hundreds of children have found themselves in difficult situations – separated from their fathers; confined without health services, education and care; with no open playtime area or the care of social workers.

When it comes to children, finding alternatives to detention is required by law. The negative psychological effects on children behind bars, who have to witness their parents in a state of agony and helplessness, are significant and can be long-lasting. The experience of detention crumbles their world and can undermine the sense of security required for healthy child development.

The project aims to:

– Contribute to the promotion of the respect for human rights and the reinforcement of an enabling environment for civil society organisations
– Advance the rights of vulnerable groups within Israel, in particular refugee and migrant children, and unaccompanied minors

The project is implemented from November 2012 until April 2014, and will result in:
– Data collected that contributes to increased knowledge on child-rights violations in detention, which will feed into the development of a National Action Plan
– Enhanced availability of public information on alternatives to child-detention, which will support the adoption of a proposed National Action Plan on those alternatives
– Strengthened advocacy capacity of Israeli civil society organisations at the EU-, international- and UN level

The project is co-financed by the European Union