Ethiopian and Eritrean refugees in detention in Israel

Resolution number: 
June 2005
  1. Article 31 of the 1951 Refugee Convention exempts refugees from being punished because of their illegal entry or presence;
  2. UNHCR’s Revised Guidelines on the Detention of Asylum Seekers states that “[a]s a general rule, asylum seekers should not be detained”, and that “the use of detention, in many instances, is contrary to the norms and principles of international law.”
  3. There are 68 refugee claimants from Ethiopia and Eritrea who are detained in Israel for prolonged periods amounting to 18 months and without obtaining adequate assistance from any party except for the African Refugees Development Centre(ARDC);
  4. The detention practices are inconsistent with established human rights standards;
  5. The Israeli authorities, after long discussion and debate, have agreed to release these detainees on an estimated bail of between $8,500-10,000 CAD for two months if there is tangible evidence of a sponsorship application to Canada and for 12months if an invitation for an interview at the Canadian Embassy is extended;
Therefore be it resolved: 

That the CCR:

  1. Urge the UNHCR to demand compliance that Israel comply with the 1951Convention and the 1967Protocol, and adhere to UNHCR’s standards on detention regarding refugees.
  2. Urge the UNHCR to intervene in accordance with the above-mentioned UNHCR Guidelines on the Detention of Asylum Seekers so that the illegally detained refugees are released and obtain fair procedures for timely review.
  3. Urge CIC to request its visa post in Tel Aviv to fulfill the following:a)process each application and make determination in a fair manner consistent with the IRPA guidelines;b)process the private sponsorship of these refugees in an expedited and consistent manner.
  4. Work with the African Refugees Development Center (ARDC) on all issues regarding African refugees and asylum seekers residing in Israel with an intention/process to immigrate/resettle in Canada.
Working Group: 
Overseas Protection and Resettlement