Wednesday 18 April 2018

It’s just gotten tougher for Israel's African migrants

It’s just gotten tougher for Israel's African migrants
(RFI(EN) 07/04/17)

New tax rules in Israel could leave hundreds of African migrants worse off than they are. In May, the government introduced a new deposit law, enabling the governemnt to take 20 percent of migrants' salaries each month and place it out of reach.

The money can only be accessed once they leave the country. Rights groups say the policy is designed to force them out of the country.

"We're not pressuring you to leave but will make your life miserable so you decide to leave," Anwar Suliman, a Darfuri refugee living in Israel since 2008, told RFI .

"Every time the state makes a different law, different pressure, but we said we can't go back right now."

Suliman fled Darfur in 2003 at the onset of the civil war, beginning a perillous journey from Libya across the Sinai peninsula.

Like thousands of African migrants, mostly from Eritrea and Sudan, he came to Israel seeking asylum.

Instead, he spent five years at the Holot Open detention centre in Israel’s Negev desert close to the Egyptian border, waiting for his request to be processed.

"I stayed there for a year and a half, and after I was released with the same status, which doesn't allow me to work, or to study. We want the state to answer for our asylum, if the state really knows we're a refugee it has to give us a good status to live with dignity."

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