At the end of January, crowds of asylum seekers showed up at the Ministry of the Interior on Salame St. in Tel Aviv with hopes of filing their asylum requests.
Their hopes were dashed as queues quickly grew longer and longer, causing asylum seekers to wait for days in difficult, wintry weather.
It wasn't long before officials started handing out reservations for future appointments, a sign of the Ministry's blunt reluctance to receive asylum requests altogether.
Asylum requests are filed in a foreign country in cases in which a person is sought or persecuted by reason of his or hers opinion; beliefs; racial, religious, ethnic or social membership in his or hers native country.
Current policy, contradicting every basic principle that should guide our society and does not follow the UN Convention (signed by Israel) Relating to the Status of Refugees (1951), does not allow asylum seekers access for due process. Their claims for asylum are not even considered, what in turn does not allow them basic protection asylum seekers get when their requests are considered.
We co-signed a letter written by Amnesty International relating to this situation to the Israeli population and immigration authority requesting that asylum seekers be allowed to file their requests.
The letter is co-signed by The Association for Civil Rights in Israel, Physicians for Human Rights, Worker's Hotline, The Hotline for Refugees and Migrants, Aid Organization for Refugees and Asylum Seekers in Israel and The African Refugee Development Center joined.
Read the letter here.