Sunday, September 15, 2013

Racism Report: Africans In Israel

On 30 January, the African Refugee Development Center (ARDC) submitted a report to the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD).

This report demonstrates that Israel continues to ignore its international obligations towards asylum seekers and refugees and that various laws, policies and practices are racially discriminatory at their basis against this vulnerable population.

ARDC documents, among other things, how Israel maintains its harsh policy of detention; tolerates segregation in the education system in Eilat; tacitly condones discriminatory edicts by state-employed rabbis; allocates temporary group protection to over 90 percent of the asylum seekers who arrive; and has reluctantly granted refugee status to only 140 individuals.

The root of this discrimination stems from the tension created by Israel’s sensitive political-demographic status as a Jewish state. Several of Israel’s high-ranking politicians have demonstrated an apparent lack of commitment in protecting the human rights of asylum seekers and eliminating racial discrimination. The coalition government, elected in 2009, is dominated by ethno-religious and extreme right wing parties and key positions are held by politicians openly hostile to asylum seekers.

Racially discriminatory, provocative and even inciteful language by influential public figures—wholly adopted by the mainstream media—is at least partially responsible for generating a community-wide backlash against the asylum seekers. The rise of this community hatred, partly fueled Members of the Knesset and councilors, towards the new population is closely recorded in this report.

The report consist of two parts: the written report (available below) and the 55 minute video documentary (subtitled in Hebrew) that appears below.

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