African migrants protest living conditions in Israel

A large number of African immigrants in Israel have staged a protest rally near the Egyptian border to voice their dissatisfaction with living conditions in their internment camp.

On Friday, around 1,000 African immigrants, mostly Eritrean and Sudanese nationals, took part in the protest rally to condemn what they called “inhuman and unlimited” detention in the Holot internment camp.

The demonstrators also called on the international community and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to facilitate their immigration to a third country.

Some 2,300 immigrants reside in Holot. The protesters say the place is “actually a prison” although Israeli officials try to present it as an “open facility.”

In December 2013, the Israeli parliament approved a law, allowing officials to keep African migrant workers in detention facilities without trial for one year.

The law also gives Tel Aviv the right to send “illegal immigrants” to complexes called “open facilities” until they are deported or voluntarily go back to their homelands. Migrants kept in the open facilities will have no right to work.

In January, the UNHCR said Israel’s new immigration rules could breach the international law as they enable the indefinite detention of asylum seekers.

Human Rights Watch has also blamed Tel Aviv for using the “threat of prolonged detention” to force the African migrants to give up their asylum claims.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has described the African immigrants as “illegal infiltrators flooding” Israel and threatening the security of Israel

More than 50,000 African immigrants, mostly from Sudan and Eritrea, currently work in low-paying jobs in Israel.





Eritrea shall be examined for human rights violations

UN Human Rights Council should do a study on human rights in Eritrea, similar to the surveys conducted around Syria, North Korea and Sri Lanka.

It condemned what they said was massive and systematic violations that the Eritrean government was behind, among other things, it is about arbitrary executions, journalists being imprisoned and the people trying to cross the border shot dead.

Yusuf Mohamed Ismail who is ambassador to Somalia and the underlying requirement of the investigation said the UN Council to violations of human rights in Eritrea is unparalleled and that Eritrea is one of the worst examples in terms of human rights.

UN Human Rights Council consists of 47 countries. The Council decided on the investigation without a vote, but China, Pakistan, Venezuela and Russia said they had reservations, but they did not try to block the investigation.

UN special rapporteur on human rights in Eritrea, Sheila B. Keetharuth said in a report to the Council to conscription in Eritrea could lead to forced labor for an indefinite period. People who resist can be executed on the spot.

Because of this, Eritrea is the country with the highest number of people fleeing across the Mediterranean to Europe.

Eritrea has refused to cooperate with Keetharuth and deny that they have committed crimes against humanity.

Eritrea’s representative at the meeting said that Keetharuths report was biased and unfounded and Eritrea rejected entirely the call to start an investigation. Eritrea’s representative argued that the fictional image of Eritrea had become the basis for a false crisis and blamed its neighbor Ethiopia.

He also said that it is obvious that the investigation was part of Ethiopia’s attempt to enforce UN sanctions against Eritrea. The investigation will be done by Sheila B. Keetharuth and two experts from Africa and Europe.