On December 30, 2008, human rights organizations petitioned the Jerusalem District Court to annul the Ministry of the Interior's decision to revoke collective protection afforded to Congolese citizens living in Israel. The Hotline for Refugees and Migrants' petition is co-sponsored by HIAS Israel, the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI), ASSAF (Aid Organization for Refugees and Asylum Seekers in Israel), PHR (Physicians for Human Rights) Israel, and the African Refugee Development Center.
Over the past two decades, a few hundred asylum seekers from the Democratic Republic of the Congo have fled to Israel from war and political and personal persecution. Most of them submitted asylum applications upon their arrival to Israel, which were never reviewed by the Population and Immigration Authority. For over 15 years, the state of Israel has instituted a policy of collective protection for Congolese citizens, and they have legally remained in Israel where they have rehabilitated their lives. On October 7, 2018, without any visible changes in the Congo, the Population and Immigration Authority issued a notice on its website that it was rescinding Congolese civilians' collective protection and that all Congolese citizens would be compelled to leave Israel within 90 days.
In their petition, the organizations claimed that this was a hasty and reckless decision in complete contradiction to reports from reliable sources and international media reports on the harsh reality in the Congo. The organizations further claimed that changing the policy on the basis of an unknown, publicly undisclosed opinion contradicts the Population and Immigration Authority's duty to act reasonably and fairly, basing its decisions on a suitably reliable and factual basis. Moreover, the decision contravenes the provisions of international law regarding collective protection.
When the petition was filed, the Jerusalem District Court issued a temporary order freezing the decision to remove collective protection until another decision was made.
Administrative appeal 69543-12-18 The Hotline for Refugees and Migrants v. The Population and Immigration Authority
Attorneys: Meirav Ben Zeev (HIAS Israel), Inbar Barel (Hotline for Refugees and Migrants)
Lee Yaron, Despite Promise, Israel Sent Deportation Notices to 10 Congolese Asylum Seekers, Haaretz, December 30, 2018