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HRW condemns Israel's movement ban on released Eritreans, Sudanese

Ahram Online , Monday 31 Aug 2015
African migrants
African migrants hold signs and gesture as they protest against Israel's detention policy toward them, from inside the fence surrounding Holot, southern Negev desert detention centre February 17, 2014 (Reuters)
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Human Rights Watch (HRW) called on Israel on Monday to drop its decision to ban 1,200 Sudanese and Eritreans from travelling to the cities of Tel Aviv and Eilat.

Israel's Supreme Court recently ordered the release of the African migrants who spent a year at Holot detention center in the southern Negev desert after illegally entering the country.

In its report, HRW pointed out that about 41,000 Eritreans and Sudanese reside in Israel, mostly in Tel Aviv, Eilat, Arad Ashdod, Ashkelon, and Jerusalem.

The Israeli interior ministry says that more than 45,000 African migrants and asylum seekers stay in Israel, France 24 reported on 26 August.

The international rights organisation, however, said that there are "no known statistics" on the exact numbers on their distribution throughout Israeli cities.

“The Israeli authorities have made no secret about their wanting to make Eritrean and Sudanese nationals’ lives so miserable that they leave the country,” said Gerry Simpson, senior refugee researcher at HRW, was quoted as saying.

“Banning the released Eritreans and Sudanese from living in their communities in major Israeli cities simply replaces illegal detention in Holot with illegal movement restrictions.”

The human rights body asserted that the Israeli interior ministry issued the movement ban on 23 August, three days before the court ruling.

HRW argued that international law disallows constraints on movement, with an exception of being "provided for by law … and necessary to protect national security, public order, public health or morals, or the rights and freedoms of others.”

“After three High Court rulings ordering an overhaul of an unlawful detention policy, the authorities have now added new illegal restrictions on freedom of movement to the long list of measures aimed at coercing the mass departure of Eritreans and Sudanese from Israel,” concluded Simpson.
 

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