African migrants protest detentions

Published: Wednesday | December 18, 2013 Comments 0
African migrants gather before a march from kibbutz Nachshon, central Israel, to Jerusalem, yesterday. - AP
African migrants gather before a march from kibbutz Nachshon, central Israel, to Jerusalem, yesterday. - AP

JERUSALEM (AP):

Chanting slogans and calling for freedom, some 200 African migrants and Israeli activists ended a two-day march with a rally yesterday denouncing Israel's policy of detaining those illegally in the country.

The symbolic march began Sunday when about 150 migrants left an 'open' detention facility in a remote area of southern Israel to make the two-day trip on foot and by bus that concluded with the protest outside the prime minister's office in Jerusalem.

The migrants want the state to end its policy of detentions and recognise them as refugees.

amended law

Under a law amended last week, Israel can detain African migrants without trial for a year, after which they are moved to the new 'open' detention facility known as Holot, which critics say is an attempt to prod them to voluntarily leave Israel.

The migrants are allowed to leave the facility but are required to report back three times a day and may remain there indefinitely. Some 500 migrants now reside in the new facility.

"We're talking about people who have nothing to lose," said Michal Rotem, an activist who took part in the march. "This is their last chance to come and say ... we want our freedom."


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