• ACRI

Normalization Does Not Permit Deportation of Asylum Seekers


Protest agains deportation of asylum seekers
Protest agains deportation of asylum seekers, January 2018. Photo by Shirli Nadav, ACRI

Physicians for Human Rights | Hotline for Migrants and Refugees | ASSAF - Aid Organization for Refugees and Asylum Seekers in Israel | ACRI | Worker’s Hotline | ARDC - African Refugee Development Center


This week it was published that Israel and Sudan are on their way to establishing diplomatic relations. When and if the temporary parliament will be established in Sudan and approve the agreement with Israel, this would not bring about “the path to solving the issue of Sudanese asylum seekers”, as claimed by Israeli sources.


Israel will have to examine the asylum requests according to the Refugee Convention and provide status for those eligible for it, with no consideration to the diplomatic ties with the country from which they escaped. In fact, Sudan is establishing diplomatic relations with most European countries, a fact which does not prevent them from providing refugee status and protection at high rates (over 60%) to asylum seekers from Sudan arriving at their borders.


Even these days, the massacres in many areas in Sudan persist, and it remains an unsafe country for many of those who escaped it. The Chairman of the Sovereign Council of Sudan, al-Burhan, and seniors officials currently ruling over Sudan, are military and militia men who participated directly in the Darfur Genocide, and the ethnic cleansings and violence in the Nuba Mountains, the Blue Nile, and other areas in Sudan. Although several positive steps were taken since the founding of the transitional government, as of now the reality in Sudan is far from being a safe solution to the refugees and displaced persons.


According to data from the Ministry of the Interior, about 6,200 Sudanese asylum seekers are currently living in Israel. By the estimations, many of them are survivors of the Darfur Genocide, and ethnic cleansings in the Nuba Mountains and the Blue Nile. According to data from the Ministry of the Interior, there are 5,119 open asylum requests from Sudanese citizens, with about 3,500 of them from asylum seekers from Darfur, the Nuba Mountains, and the Blue Nile. To this day, only one asylum seeking request by a Sudanese citizen has been accepted by the unit in charge of determining the status of refugees in the Ministry of Aliyah and Integration, and only after six months of legal proceedings. 600 Sudanese from the Darfur region received refugee status (A/5) by virtue of the decision of the Minister of the Interior from 2007, without any assessment of their asylum requests, and about 800 Sudanese asylum seekers from Darfur, the Nuba Mountains, and the Blue Nile were given temporary resident status (A/5) for humanitarian reasons, which grants them a work permit, health insurance, and access to welfare services - this, too, without having their asylum requests assessed by Israel.


The failure to recognize asylum seekers as refugees is not an error, but rather an intentional policy. The Ministry of Aliyah and Integration has concealed its own stance - that most Sudanese asylum seekers living in Israel should be granted refugee status. This stance was concealed for over two years from the public and the courts.


Israel is avoiding making a decision on the asylum requests of Sudanese, and the majority of Sudanese asylum seekers are living in Israel without status or rights for 15 years: Israel has prevented them from filing asylum requests over the years, imprisoned them in the Saharonim and Holot detention facilities, tried to force them to leave to Rwanda and Uganda which never granted them asylum, and even today prevents them from getting access to health and welfare services, and imposes taxes and deposits on their employees. Over all these years Israel has been refusing to review and decide on their asylum requests.