Many Israeli took part in the campaign against the Israeli government’s plan to establish a database that will store biometric information (fingerprints and facial signatures) of citizens. What most of us are unaware of is that a biometric database for foreign citizens – which contains hundreds of thousands of records - has been in existence for nearly a decade. This database was built quietly, without a public campaign against it and without legislation. Now the government is working to pass a law that would make the database official, and would grant authority to immigration inspectors and police officers to use force to obtain biometric information from foreign citizens.
Each newsletter features a follow-up segment in which we'll examine how a story reported in the media developed. In this issue we return to see what happened to the female torture camp survivors who were rescued by the Swedish government from detention in Israel. The women were subjected to abuse and rape in Sinai and upon arrival in Israel, they were jailed under the Anti-Infiltration Law for a prolonged period. The Swedish government decided to resettle these women and grant them an opportunity to rebuild their lives.
We examine an appeal filed on behalf of an Eritrean asylum-seekers whose asylum request was rejected by the Ministry of Interior. The appeal deals with the Refugee Convention and its implementation with regards to the situation in Eritrea and the policies of the Eritrean regime toward citizens who flee the national service forced on them by dictatorship in Asmara. As part of the service, forced on Eritrean citizens from a young age without a release date, those drafted are obligated to perform hard labor and live apart from their families.
In 2010 the government passed a resolution, awarding legal status to immigrants’ children who met certain criteria. How many families actually got legal status? How many were turned down? How many were deported? Were the statements made by ministers who objected to the decision regarding the number of families to be awarded status accurate? Or - as happened many times before – were they just trying to intimidate the public by using inflated numbers?