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Today: Human Rights Organizations appealed to stop the deportation to Congo (DRC)

Human Rights Organizations (Hotline for Refugees and Migrants, HIIAS, Association for Civil Rights in Israel, Physicians for Human Rights – Israel,  African Refugee Development Center, and ASSAF – Organization for Refugee Aid) in an Appeal to the District Court of Jerusalem: Cancel the Withdrawal of Group Protection for Citizens of the Democratic Republic of Congo

Over the past two decades, a few hundred asylum seekers, fleeing war and persecution in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), have come to Israel. Most of them, immediately upon their arrival, filed requests for asylum which have never been reviewed by the Ministry of Interior affairs. For more than 15 years the State of Israel has carried out a policy of group protection for the Congolese, and they have resided in Israel legally, rebuilding their lives.

On 7th November 2018, without any change having taken place in conditions in the DRC, the Ministry of Interior placed a notice on its website that it will withdraw the group protection from the Congolese community. The decision was based on a secret assessment drawn up by the Ministries of Interior and Foreign Affairs, deliberately kept from the public, and which stands in complete contradiction to reports from reliable sources, as well as reports by the international press as to what is happening in the Congo these days.

The human rights organizations have appealed to the court to instruct the Ministry of Interior to repeal its decision, or at least freeze it until an in-depth analysis of the situation in the DRC has been made, and significant changes in the security and humanitarian conditions have taken place. In addition, they have demanded publication of the assessment upon which the decision was based.

Currently the security forces in the DRC are brutally repressing demonstrations by firing live ammunition at civilians; the regime has refused to allow international observers access to the general elections which have already been delayed three times since 2016, and are taking place today (30.12.18); the country is still under the iron fist of the dictator Joseph Kabila; mass arrests of political opponents, false accusations against the political opposition, executions without trial and  torture are routinely carried out by the security forces; demonstrations against election delays are violently repressed; ,millions of people are denied the right to vote since the elections are postponed to march in a number of districts; millions of displaced persons and refugees have been forced to flee the DRC to neighboring countries; and sexual attacks and rape are used as an instrument of war by all the warring factions. This is the reality to which the State of Israel plans to deport the Congolese, whose asylum applications have never been reviewed by the Ministry of Interior.

In light of the above, the decision to withdraw the group protection from the Congolese community in Israel is unreasonable in the extreme and represents a blatant disregard for human life. It is time for the Ministry of Interior to come before the court and explain its decision to force the asylum seekers, who fear for their lives, to return to the DRC while the situation is still so precarious.