Around 53,000 Africans are seeking refuge in Israel. Many have fled violence at home – but they’re in limbo. The Israeli government is refusing them refugee or asylum status. And in recent weeks, it’s been transporting thousands to a remote detention centre.
When the Israeli government started bussing African asylum seekers to a desert detention center in January,tens of thousands took to the streets of Tel Aviv and Jerusalem in protest, calling for an end to what many term racist government policy. They also want asylum so that they don’t have to live in perpetual fear of deportation to their home countries where they face possible prison and death sentences.
Hassan Shakur, South Sudanese asylum seeker in Israel spoke to CCTV and here is what he had to say.
Of the 53,000 Africans seeking refugee status in Israel since 2006, only two have been granted asylum in recent months. Local NGO’s say Israel’s government is heel dragging when it comes to reviewing applications and employing tactics aimed at pressuring Africans into returning to their countries of origin. Israel’s government maintains the majority of Africans in Israel are illegal infiltrators who will not be integrated into society.
Thousands like Hassan are being rounded up and detained. Their crime? Being an African refugee. For hassan though, he is headed to the unknown. Hassan spent his last hours of freedom, working to break down barriers between Israelis and Africans. Here’s his story;