This month Israel’s High Court of Justice ruled that the use of Holot Detention Centre was unlawful, and gave the Government 90 days to release some 2000 people being held there.  The court also ruled that newly arrived persons (termed infiltrators’ by the government) could no longer be detained automatically for one year as is current practice.

This ruling followed outcry earlier in the month from Israeli human rights organizations and international actors that Israel was coercing asylum seekers to depart Israel by offering them an impossible choice: depart Israel or face indefinite detention.

There has been huge public and political backlash against the decision, with some claiming this decision will cause more asylum seekers and migrants to come to Israel.

Meanwhile, asylum seekers and their advocates have called upon the public and the government to recognize that those at risk of detention are ‘…not enemies of Israel, just people who fled their countries because of persecution, wars & dictatorships’, and reminding us of their humanity whilst recognizing ‘any solution to Israel’s migrant-workers problem must take into account the residents of south Tel Aviv and the asylum seekers themselves’

IDC members, asylum seekers and human rights organisations involved in the recent court case have commended the court decision, but remain wary of potential action from government to circumvent the court decision.  Initial media reports revealed that authorities were continuing to order individual’s to report to the Holot Detention Centre despite the Court order, however that this has now stopped.

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