Israel: Amend "Infiltrator" Detention Law

  • by: Carin Cowell
  • target: Interior Minister Eli Yishai, Goverment of Israel

Human Rights Watch (HRW) are calling on Israel to immediately amend a law which is considered xenophobic and in contrary to international law.

The law allows the detention for up to 3 years with out charge of what Israel labels “infiltrators”. Infiltrators are irregular border-crossers, typically refugees from South Sudan and Eritrea fleeing persecution in their own countries. Interior Minister Eli Yishai has announced that illegal immigrants would be moved to detention centres soon, where they would not be guaranteed access to lawyers.

The UNHCR estimates that 60,000 refugees have entered Israel since 2005. The interior minister believes that, “This is a number that threatens the Jewish identity.” The decision follows recent attacks against sub-Saharan Africans, including the firebombing of homes and arson at a preschool. MP Miri Regev has said, “The Sudanese are a cancer in our body”.

This law is xenophobic and illegal. It must be changed to protect the persecuted refugees. Sign TODAY!

We, the undersigned, support the call by Human Rights Watch to amend the Prevention of Infiltration Law, which has recently been modified to allow the detention of all foreign nationals without legal council. The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) prevents arbitrary detention. Furthermore, Article 9 states that detainees have the right to challenge their detention before a court, and thus should have access to lawyers.


Furthermore, according to the Prevention of Infiltration Law, “infiltration” can be considered a criminal offence, with detention of up to 5 years, even if the person is seeking asylum. This goes against the Refugee Convention, to which Israel is party, that states refugees cannot be punished for ‘illegal’ entry into a country.


This law not only contrary to international law, but it is xenophobic and will punish the vulnerable.


We ask that the Israeli Government reconsiders The Prevention of Infiltration and takes steps to bring it in line with international law.


Thank you for you attention. 




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