Early Day Motion raises awareness of unfair treatment of non-Jewish refugees in Israel
Tommy Sheppard MP has sponsored an EDM calling on the Israeli Government to improve its treatment of non-Jewish, African asylum seekers. Less than one percent of applications by African refugees are successful, while Israel’s closest neighbours, Jordan and Lebanon, have each accepted millions of refugees fleeing Syria.
There has been widespread criticism of the conditions in which refugees are detained in Israel. The largest detention center, Holot, is located in the desert and is an hour from the nearest town. Asylum seekers and refugees are detained there indefinitely. Although detainees are free to leave the confines of the center during the day they must be back for roll call at 10pm. Those who do not make it back in time risk detention in Saharonim prison, which is across the road. They are not allowed to work and the conditions are basic and overcrowded. There have been protests inside and outside the center.
The EDM also commends the work of Hotline for Refugees and Migrants Israel and the Assaf Aid Organization for Refugees and Asylum Seekers. Both organisations work within Israel promoting African refugee rights. Finally the EDM calls on the UK Government to demand immediate action from the Israeli government to behave in line with international legal norms and obligations.
This EDM that came about following a meeting with campaigner Gary Spedding, and journalist and filmmaker David Sheen, who spoke to Tommy about the conditions for refugees in Israel. Tommy managed to get cross party support from co-sponsors Nicolas Soames (CON), Stephen Kinnock (LAB), Margaret Ritchie (SDLP), Caroline Lucas (GRE) and Liz Saville Roberts (PC), and he has gathered 29 signatures to date. You can see them all here.