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Rights group urges Israel to end migrant detention law

Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] urged Israel [press release] on Sunday not to enforce its "Anti-Infiltration" policy, claiming the law violates asylum-seekers' "basic rights." According to HRW, Israel will soon begin enforcing the new law which reflects amendments made in January [JURIST report] by the Knesset [official website] to the 1954 Prevention of Infiltration Law that regards all irregular border-crossers as "infiltrators" who are subject to detention without a trial for as long as three years before being deported. The amendment to the law comes during a time of increased anti-immigrant violence and xenophobia towards African immigrants in Israel including a recent statement by Miri Regev, a member of the Knesset claiming that "the Sudanese are a cancer in our body." HRW has asked that the law not be enforced until it can be brought into compliance with international law protecting immigrants' human rights.

This is not the first time HRW has been critical of Israel's treatment of migrants. Last February, HRW criticized [JURIST report] Israel's residency restrictions that forbid Palestinians from traveling through and living in Gaza and the West Bank. While HRW has urged Israel to change its policies concerning Palestinian residencies, Israel has recently made some changes on its own accord to certain legislative policies. In January, an Israeli government panel approved a bill [JURIST report] that would make it illegal to use any Nazi symbols, names, or images, including the use of the term "Nazi" and any clothing resembling that worn by prisoners at concentration camps.

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