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No asylum for “Infiltrators”: the legal predicament of Eritrean and Sudanese nationals in Israel

Ziegler, R. (2015) No asylum for “Infiltrators”: the legal predicament of Eritrean and Sudanese nationals in Israel. Journal of Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Law, 29 (2). pp. 172-191. ISSN 1746-7632

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Abstract/Summary

This article explores the precarious status of Eritrean and Sudanese nationals in Israel. Having crossed the Israeli-Egyptian border without authorisation and not through an official border crossing, Israeli law defines such individuals as ‘infiltrators’, a charged term which dates back to border-crossings into Israel by Palestinian Fedayeen in the 1950s. Eritreans and Sudanese nationals constitute over 90 percent of ‘infiltrators’ in Israel. Their livelihood is curtailed through hostility, sanctions, and detention, while (at the time of writing) Israel refrains from deporting them to their respective countries of origin, recognising that such forced removal could expose them to risks to their lives and/or freedom. Israel was the 10th state to ratify the 1951 Refugee Convention, and has acceded to its 1967 Protocol which removed the 1951 Convention’s temporal and geographic restrictions, yet it has not incorporated these treaties into its domestic law not has it enacted primary legislation that sets eligibility criteria for ‘refugee’ status and regulates the treatment of asylum-seekers. Israeli law also fails to accord subsidiary protection status to persons that the state considers to be non-removable, whether or not they satisfy the definition of a ‘refugee’ under the 1951 Convention. Absent legal recognition of ‘refugee’, ‘asylum-seeker’, and ‘beneficiary of subsidiary protection’ statuses, Eritreans and Sudanese nationals are left in legal limbo for an indefinite period qua irregular non-removable persons. This article takes stock of their legal predicament.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Science > School of Law
ID Code:40389
Publisher:Bloomsbury Professional

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