hotline header big image

Israeli District Court Rejects Legal Petition from Human Rights Organizations and allows Asylum Seekers who Refuse to Leave Israel to be Imprisoned indefinitely

“The Court Approved A Confidential Arrangement Which will Allow the Imprisonment of Thousands of Asylum Seekers Due to Their Justified Fears of Leaving to an Unsafe Place”

Yesterday (November 8th) the Beer Sheva District Court handed down a decision rejecting the legal petition submitted by a coalition of human rights organizations against the government policy to imprison asylum seekers indefinitely who refuse to leave to an un-named third country.

The human rights organizations responded, “It is very unfortunate to discover that the court did not give sufficient weight to the evidence we presented and instead legitimized a confidential arrangement which has no precedence anywhere in the world. Although the State claims that those who leave Israel receive legal status in the third countries (known to be Rwanda and Uganda), the testimonies we submitted show that the refugees cannot stay in these countries and are bound to continue a dangerous journey. The ruling will lead to the imprisonment of innocent people because of their justified fear to leave to a place in which no one can guarantee their safety”.

The court ordered a 21 day delay on implementing the policy in order to allow an appeal.

The legal petition was filed by The Refugee Rights Clinic in Tel Aviv University, The Hotline for Refugees and Migrants, the Association of Civil Rights in Israel, ASSAF – Aid Organization for Refugees, Kav LaOved, Physicians for Human Rights – Israel and ARDC – African Refugees Development Cenet. It was filed in July after several detainees in Holot were told they would be transferred to Saharonim if they refuse to leave to Rwanda. An identical petition was filed in April, but was rejected after the court accepted the state’s argument that it was premature since the policy had not yet been implemented at the time.