Protecting Eritrean Refugees from Deportation

Protecting Eritrean Refugees from Deportation

Friday 29 September 2023

NIF Australia has long worked to protect refugees and asylum seekers who have fled to Israel seeking safety. On the 2nd of September, the safety of Israel’s Eritrean refugee community was threatened.

What happened?

Israeli police used live ammunition and rubber bullets on hundreds of protesters in Tel Aviv, in response to street fighting occurring at a contentious event celebrating 30 years of Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki. President Afwerki’s regime has been described as one of the most repressive in the world and there were calls for the event to be postponed for fear of violent clashes. These calls were ignored and over 150 people were left injured, with at least 19 in serious condition.

The far-right Israeli government has used this moment to push their xenophobic, anti-refugee agenda. Since the protests, over 50 Eritrean protesters have been transferred to administrative detention, meaning they could be imprisoned indefinitely and be given no legal representation. The ultimate goal of the government is to deport them back to Eritrea.

Read more about the protests here.

How we helped

NIF Australia, thanks to donations from our generous supporters, were able to send an $8,000 emergency grant to NIF grantee, the Hotline for Refugees and Migrants (HRM) to provide additional legal support to help the Eritrean detainees. This grant will provided urgently needed additional resources to HRM, allowing them to increase the hours of their current legal staff and hire additional lawyers to defend the detainees in court proceedings.

To see more about the work of HRM and other organisations NIF supports to provide safety for refugees and people seeking asylum in Israel, click here.