Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

TALKING EUROPE

Greece’s minister of tourism: ‘Tourism is a government priority’

Read more

TALKING EUROPE

Terrorism, strike actions and migrant crisis: Is the EU becoming less attractive to tourists?

Read more

FOCUS

FRANCE 24 exclusive: The last stand for Libya’s Oil Crescent

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

Moody's cuts Turkey's credit rating to junk

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

‘Grozny 1999 – Aleppo 2016’

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Trump and Clinton: 'It's all to play for'

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Turkish foreign minister says troops to move further into Syria

Read more

EYE ON AFRICA

Court ruling expected on Gabon's contested election results

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Clinton's comedy turn

Read more

Middle east

Israel strikes down law targeting African migrants

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2013-09-17

Israel’s supreme court has revoked a law that allowed authorities to hold African migrants in detention for up to three years, in a move cheered by rights groups and criticised by hardliners as a threat to the country’s Jewish character.

Israel’s supreme court on Monday struck down a controversial year-old law that allowed authorities to hold African migrants in detention for up to three years without charge.

The law, which came into effect in June 2012, was intended to deter waves of illegal immigration from sub-Saharan Africa, but was slammed by human rights groups as an illegal way of handling people seeking asylum.

Reacting to the decision, Yariv Levine, a senior lawmaker in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud party, took to his Facebook page to accuse the court of having made a “mad decision to turn Israel from a Jewish state into one of all its immigrants”.

That point of view had been expressed by Netanyahu himself, who defended the law when it was first signed, arguing that it would help protect the Jewish character of Israel.

Netanyahu to pursue ‘determined policy’

But Chief Justice Asher Grunis, along with eight other justices on the panel, ruled that the law conflicted with Israel’s legal guarantees of basic “human dignity and freedom”, calling it “illegitimate constitutionally”. Many of the immigrants come from countries like Eritrea and Sudan, considered too dangerous for repatriation, and are therefore entitled to Israeli residency permits, the court said.

The court has given the government three months to decide what to do with the hundreds of migrants currently living in detention centres.

Several left-wing lawmakers cheered the decision. Michal Rozin of the Meretz party praised the court for “[stopping] anti-democratic legislation”.

Meanwhile, Netanyahu said he would observe the court’s decision while “implementing our determined policy that has already curtailed the infiltration”.

Most of the roughly 50,000 African migrants that have come to Israel since 2006 cross the desert of the Sinai Peninsula and then sneak through the porous Egyptian border.

A beefed-up border fence, however, has reduced such illegal immigration, with no crossings recorded since August.
 

Date created : 2013-09-17

  • ISRAEL

    Israel to pay 'Prisoner X' family $1.1 million

    Read more

  • FRANCE

    French consulate employee arrested smuggling goods into West Bank

    Read more

COMMENT(S)