Thousands of African migrants marched through the streets of Tel Aviv yesterday to protest Israel's policy on asylum seekers, the Big News Network website reports today (December 29, 2013).
Yesterday's demonstration -- which was also attended by activists and others sympathetic to the plight of migrants -- was aimed at changing Israel's policy of detaining and jailing asylum seekers without checking their refugee status. The Israeli government -- in its effort to maintain a unique "Jewish identity" of Israel -- has intensified its actions in recent months to remove some 60,000 Africans from the country, which the United Nations and many human rights organizations consider to be a racist policy.
Dubbed the "March for Freedom," demonstrators chanted slogans against the detention of migrants and called for the recognition of their rights. Israel has a so-called anti-infiltration law which allows the state to jail illegal asylum seekers without charge.
Human Rights Watch has called on Tel Aviv to end its "unlawful detention policy" and release all asylum seekers. This international watchdog organization also claims that Israel often uses the threat of prolonged detention to encourage African migrants to abandon their asylum rights.