Some 300 Sudanese protested on Sunday outside Tel Aviv’s Kirya government headquarters against plans to imprison African asylum-seekers in a Negev detention facility. They called on the state to examine their individual requests for recognition as refugees and grant them their rights and protection. The refugees also complained that the United Nations does not do enough to safeguard them.
The protesters chanted “We are refugees, not infiltrators” - the latter being the government’s term for them - and “We are human beings.” They held aloft banners in Hebrew and English proclaiming “We are not criminals - why are you putting us in prison?” Other signs read “We came to ask for protection, not to look for work,” “We did not chose to be refugees - Israel and the UN have failed to protect us,” and “Where are Jewish ethics?”
“We want Israelis to know that the Sudanese are not coming here for work. We are refugees,” said Suaba Osman from the Darfur region in Sudan, clutching a refugee’s ID card issued in Egypt. Osman entered Israel five years ago and has lived here since with her husband and son. “I’m holding this so that everyone will know that we are refugees,” she said.
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