Young Eritrean kids in an Israeli prison

Hotline for Migrant Workers says minors kept in Saharonim Prison under tough conditions despite attorney general’s decision to prohibit imprisonment of children
Yael Branovsky

Thirty-five foreign kids, some aged 3-10, are being kept at the Saharonim Prison for over 60 days, a report issued by the Migrant Workers Hotline on Monday suggests.

According to the Hotline, which is marking 11 years to its inception, the imprisonment of asylum seekers has cost the tax payer some NIS 60 million (roughly $16 million) over the past six years.
he organization claims that the imprisoned asylum seekers have been illegally and unnecessarily arrested. “Instead of these huge amounts, the State could could have released and allowed these detainees to work for a living, or at the very least decided who among them should be granted refugee status. Instead the country just imprisons over 1,000 people, including children who have harmed no one and whose only vice was to enter Israel illegally.”

Data collected by the Hotline suggests that 1, 042 asylum seekers are imprisoned in Israel, including 35 children. “The average imprisonment period of foreign citizens is 521 days. Among them there is a resident of Togo who has been incarcerated in the Givon Prison since 2004 – that’s six years,” the Hotline stated.

“The attorney general prohibited the imprisonment of minors and it was decided to transfer them to a different facility. However, there is not enough room for everyone and 35 minors are still being kept under tough conditions and are sleeping in tents in the heat of the desert.”

The group said that Israeli prisons hold more than 300 men and women, some imprisoned for over two years, who claim they have arrived from Eritrea and Sudan, while the State insists they come from Ethiopia.

As Eritrean and Sudanese refugees cannot be deported and are entitled to group protection under a UN treaty, the State insists on claiming that many of the asylum seekers who declared they came from Eritrea are in Ethiopians.

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Posted by on Sep 14 2010 Filed under News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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