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Removing Barriers

A joint project of the Hotline for Refugees and Migrants, the Association for Civil Rights in Israel and Physicians for Human Rights-Israel.

Duration of the project: January 2014 – December 2015.

The Removing Barriers Project aims to remove the obstacles migrant workers and asylum-seekers face when interacting with state authorities and restrictions on their rights. The Removing Barriers Project has three main action components: Legal action, policy advocacy among decision-makers and elected officials and public outreach in the form of an annual campaign.

As part of the Removing Barriers Project, the three partner organizations issue a quarterly newsletter about immigration in Israel. The newsletter, called The Migrant, can be read in Hebrew and in English.

The projects public outreach campaign for 2014 is “The Money is Buried in Holot” campaign. The campaign was carried out with fellow Israeli human rights organizations and dealt with hundreds of millions the Israeli government has spent on jailing asylum-seekers and proposed alternative uses to those funds that would help Israeli neighborhoods in which many asylum-seekers reside.The campaign included billboards, posters that were plastered all over south Tel Aviv, distribution of fliers and a social media campaign.

One of the campaign’s posters in south Tel Aviv: “A library could have been opened here. With the money buried in the Holot [detention] facility we could have built 40 libraries. The money is buried in Holot.

Another campaign carried out as part of the project is Voices from Holot. The campaign aimed to a give a voice to the asylum-seekers detained without trial far from sight, in the Holot and Saharonim detention facilities, deep in the Negev desert. We interviewed asylum-seekers detained in those facilities under the Anti-Infiltration Law and programmed a website that featured quotes from the asylum-seekers held in detention. Thousands of Israelis joined this campaign and gave their voice, via their social media profiles, to the voiceless.

One of the quotes we distributed in picture form: “Returning to Sudan is death for me. I will say it again and again. Maybe in the end they will hear me and release me from prison. Musa, asylum-seeker from Sudan, detained in Holot”

The project enjoys the generous support of the European Union