Israeli Court Grants Sudanese Asylum Seekers Temporary Status

By Matt Schiavenza

Managing Editor

African refugees appear at a food distribution center in Israel.

Asylum seekers at a food distribution event at the Negev Refugee Center in Beer Sheva, Israel, on December 27, 2023. (Amnon Gutman for HIAS)

A district court ruled on Monday that Israel’s Ministry of Interior must grant temporary residency to approximately 1,000 asylum seekers from Sudan, making them eligible for health care, social rights, and benefits. The ruling — the result of a HIAS Israel petition filed in November 2022 — is a significant victory for Israel’s Sudanese refugee community, many of whose members had fled war in their home country.

“The judgment provides relief in these difficult days for asylum seekers from Sudan,” said Nimrod Avigal, legal department manager at HIAS Israel, to Haaretz (link in Hebrew). Avigal noted that many have lost their homes or been forced to relocate since the outbreak of war in Israel on October 7, an event that has brought fresh trauma to a population already familiar with conflict and displacement.

Members of the Sudanese community join HIAS Israel staff at the initial hearing at the District Court. (Rachel Gerber/HIAS)

“We hope it is another step forward towards a fair and just asylum system that examines requests and recognizes refugees,” Avigal said.

The ruling applies to asylum seekers from the Darfur, Nuba Mountain, and Blue Nile regions of Sudan who had submitted asylum applications by November 30, 2022. Judge Ido Druyan-Gamliel ordered the state to grant the petitioners residency within 9o days. That status will be renewed until a decision is made on their specific asylum petitions.

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