JBI Assesses Challenges of Sudanese Refugees in Israel
August 14, 2007 - New York - The growing crisis in Israel caused by an influx of Sudanese refugees entering from Egypt is assessed by the American Jewish Committee's Jacob Blaustein Institute for the Advancement of Human Rights (JBI) in a
new briefing paper.
The Blaustein Institute is calling on Israeli officials to act promptly to determine who among the Sudanese are legitimate refugees entitled to international protection and not to be returned to Egypt. JBI also is urging Egyptian authorities to take immediate steps to prevent further killing and ill treatment of persons seeking to cross into Israel, and to investigate and hold accountable anyone responsible for using excessive force against the refugees.
"Our central concern is that international obligations continue to be respected in Israel and that Egypt takes further measures to ensure refugee rights," said JBI Chairman E. Robert Goodkind.
The JBI briefing paper,
Sudanese in Israel: The Current Situation, is available at
At least 1,200 Sudanese refugees, including 300 from Darfur, are now in Israel. The JBI report discusses what is needed to determine if they qualify as refugees under the 1951 Convention to which Israel is a party, and other measures to help Israel cope with this challenge.
While most are employed, more than 100 are reportedly detained in prison or prison-like facilities, frequently with criminal offenders, and often separated from their families. Sudanese are considered "enemy infiltrators" in Israel because Sudan is currently in a formal state of war with Israel.
The report reviews current developments and cites recent incidents of members of Egypt's border control killing refugees attempting to cross into Israel.
AJC's Jacob Blaustein Institute for the Advancement of Human Rights, founded in 1971, strives to narrow the gap between the promise of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international human rights agreements and the realization of those rights in practice. Felice D. Gaer is the Director and the briefing paper was prepared by JBI's Goldman Fellow, Gabrielle Thal-Pruzan.