Rights in Exile Programme

Refugee Legal Aid Information for Lawyers Representing Refugees Globally

Israel Pro Bono Directory

Click here to see the numbers and origins of refugees hosted by Israel. 

As UNHCR statistics generally rely on data from host countries, statistics on refugees alone can give an insufficient account of refugee numbers, as some host countries will not grant refugee status to certain groups. Including statistics for individuals in refugee-like situations is an attempt to account for unrecognised refugees and does not include internally displaced persons. Statistics for stateless refugees are included if available.

Procedure for Handling Political Asylum Seekers in Israel, Population Immigration and Border Authority, Ministry of Interior, State of Israel, 2011 - This Israeli government procedure is to set out the process of handling political asylum seekers in Israel, and those who were recognized as refugees by the Interior Minister by virtue of the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and the 1967 Protocol relating to the Status of Refugees. It came into effect on 2 January 2011.

Amnesty International Israel

www.amnesty.org.il / in English
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27 Montefiore Street, Tel Aviv
POB 14179 TLV 65793
Tel: +972 (0)3 52 50 005
Fax: +972 (0)3 52 50 001
Contact Person: Rona Moran, Refugees' Rights Coordinator
Email: infoatamnesty [dot] org [dot] il

The Refugees and Asylum Seekers in Israel department monitors the situation for refugees and asylum seekers in Israel. An advocacy organisation, AI do not provide legal aid, but can provide details of other organisations who do. AI's current activities are focused on the Anti-Infiltration Bill which is before the Israeli government, the passing into law of which will contravene Israel's responsibilities under international law and could result in the refoulement of refugees to countries from which they have fled persecution.

African Refugees Development Centre (ARDC)

www.ardc-israel.org
Units 4919-23, New Central Bus Station, Tel Aviv 66990
P.O. Box 59034, Tel Aviv 61590, Israel
Tel: +972 (0)3 639 1416
Fax: +972 (0)3 639 1415
Email:  infoatardc-israel [dot] org

The ARDC run an Asylum Application Assistance Project to assist those seeking asylum with the Refugee Status Determination (RSD) process. The process in Israel can be extremely protracted and is one of the most stressful experiences faced by asylum seekers, and the outcome of an application dictates the fate of the individual which may include arrest, deportation or worse if it is rejected. On 2 July 2009, the Israeli Ministry of the Interior assumed responsibility for the RSD procedure from the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR). The process is complicated by the absence of a clear Israeli asylum policy. As a result, the procedure is marred by inconsistencies and ad hoc decisions. The ARDC, together with a number of other human right organisations through the Refugees' Rights Forum, is advocating to improve the fairness, transparency and integrity of the process. In October 2009, ARDC launched the Asylum Process Assistance Project to advise and represent asylum seekers throughout every phase of the asylum application process. Anyone seeking assistance with the RSD process should contact the Legal Aid Project Coordinator.

The ARDC also provides comprehensive information, advice and referrals in issues related to the asylum procedure, housing, employment, education and social and psychological care. Asylum seekers typically arrive to Israel in an acute state of shock as a result of their severe hardships, torture, rape and separation from family. They can provide trauma counselling to individuals who receive therapy sessions on a weekly basis from a qualified and experienced psychologist. Therapeutic services are provided for refugee individuals, couples and groups.

Aid Organization for Refugees and Asylum Seekers in Israel (ASSAF)

www.assaf.org.il/
52 Golomb St., Tel-Aviv
Tel/Fax: +972 (0)72 251 3838
Fax: +972 (0)72 251 3837
Email: infoatassaf [dot] org [dot] il

ASSAF support refugees and asylum seekers in Israel through advocacy and practical support programmes. These include the Advocacy Support Center which assists refugees with finding employment, accommodation, and general orientation in Israel on arrival. There are translation services available to help refugees deal with the authorities, and ASSAF then refer them to other organizations where necessary. ASSAF provide psycho-social services to help refugees find some stability and aid their integration; a Youth Club for teenage refugees with mentors able to give individual psycho-social support and advice; and also run a community programme to strengthen community leaders, promote self-help initiatives, and giving training and support to community organisations and events.

B'nai Darfur (Sons of Darfur)

www.bnaidarfur.org
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75 Nahalat Binyamin St. Tel Aviv, Israel
Tel: +972 (0)3 52 56 29 084 or +972 (0)3 54 74 34 579
Contact: www.bnaidarfur.org/contact/

They work to assist refugees in finding employment and housing, together with the Tel Aviv Municipality, have registered 100 children for school, and have established regular Hebrew and English language lessons for adults.

They provide critical humanitarian aid to the refugee community along with culturally and linguistically appropriate services and information. They do not provide legal services, but refer refugees in need of this help to those who do.

Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS)

http://www.hias.org/hias-israel
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Israel Headquarters, 1 Zeitlin Street, Suite # 313-314, Tel Aviv 64956
Tel: +972-(0)3-6911322
Fax: +972-(0)3-6911336
Email:  Through the contact form at http://www.hias.org/contact-us.

HIAS grants scholarships for immigrants (olim) who recently have immigrated to Israel. HIAS assists with Israeli government and UNHCR efforts to protect refugees arriving from Africa and elsewhere, and runs programs in the region to protect, assist and – in many cases – resettle refugees and migrants of all faiths and ethnicities. HIAS also undertake Refugee Law Education and co-formed the first Israeli refugee law clinic in 2003 at Tel Aviv University's Buchmann Law Faculty. HIAS has also been working closely with the Israel Ministry of the Interior (MOI) and the UNHCR to train MOI personnel to fully assume the responsibilities of Refugee Status Determination in Israel.

The Hotline for Refugees and Migrants

www.hotline.org.il
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75 Nahalat Binyamin Street, Tel Aviv, 6515417
Tel: +972 (0)3 560 25 30
Fax: +972 (0)3 560 51 75
Email: infoathotline [dot] org [dot] il or Asaf Weitzen (Co-ordinator of the Legal Department) asafathotline [dot] org [dot] il

Opening Hours: Sunday 09:00-12:00 and 15:00-18:00, Tuesday 09:00-13:00, Wednesday 14:00-18:00 and Thursday 09:00-13:00
When the office is closed, please call: +927 (0)3 560 2530

The Hotline for Refugees and Migrants is a non-partisan, not for profit organisation, dedicated to (a) promoting the rights of undocumented migrant workers and refugees and (b) eliminating trafficking in persons in Israel. We aim to build a more just, equitable and democratic society where the human rights of all those residing within its borders are paramount civic and political values.

We use a three-pronged approach to achieve our goals:

  • Crisis Intervention: Providing information and solutions to those detained and exploited. Volunteers have assisted over 44,000 migrant workers, refugees and trafficking survivors through our telephone hotline and visits to detention centers.
  • Legal Action: Filing suits and petitions promoting public accountability and enforcement of the rule of law. Through use of a variety of legal tools including petitions to the High Court of Justice, we work to ensure that existing laws protecting basic human rights are implemented. For example, with our partners we achieved judicial review for detained migrants slated for deportation and promoted the abolishment of government policy binding workers to their employers. We also achieved state-financed legal aid for trafficked persons and unaccompanied minors. In a precedent-setting ruling, survivors of trafficking are not required to prove damages to receive redress in civil cases.
  • Public Policy: Educating and informing through work with the Israeli public, academia, the media and policymakers. We have initiated more than 1,400 media items and conducted over 600 lectures. Our activism was instrumental in the granting of legal status to children of migrant workers and refugees from Darfur and in achieving better policy for trafficked persons and unaccompanied minors. The HMW is a recognized authority and serves as an advisory body for national and international bodies, government ministries, academia and civic organizations. Some 175 volunteers dedicate their time to the Hotline for Refugees and Migrants.

Physicians For Human Rights - Israel

www.phr.org.il / in English
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9 Dror St., 68135 Tel Aviv-Jaffa, Israel
Tel: +972 03-5133100
Fax: +972 03-6873029
Contact Person: Sharon Barnett, director of the Open Clinic (sharonbatphr [dot] org [dot] il
Email: mailatphr [dot] org [dot] il
 

Within the Israel, national health coverage does not apply to a large population of immigrants. This population includes, among others, migrant workers, refugees and persons seeking asylum, children of Israeli residents that do not have legal status and women who have been disenfranchised by recent amendments to the Nationality Law.

The Department of Migrants and Persons with no Civil Status endeavors to protect the immigrants’ rights to health, to have them included in public health settlements, to sever the ties between civil status and entitlement to social rights, and to promote a “social residency” status that will enable immigrants’ entitlement to rights unconditioned upon their civil status.

Physicians for Human Rights-Israel offers treatment to migrants and refugees, and endeavors to assist with any request for medical aid, whether directly with treatment or by assisting with payment for care. They also work to prevent deportation of the chronically ill to home countries where they cannot receive care or are at risk of inhuman treatment or death by representing them in claims against private insurance companies, by supporting seekers of political asylum, and a variety of other kinds of assistance. This advocacy action typifies their contacts with insurance companies, health funds, hospitals, government ministries and press communications in the legal aid sector. Physicians for Human Rights-Israel relies upon assistance from the Legal Aid Clinic at the University of Tel Aviv Faculty of Law, especially in representing documented workers against the private insurance companies and on issues of refugees’ rights.

The Refugee Rights Clinic

www.law.tau.ac.il/Eng/?CategoryID=280
Buchmann Faculty of Law, Tel Aviv University
Tel: +972 (0)3 64 05 264

Contact:  Anat Ben-Dor
Email: anatbdatpost [dot] tau [dot] ac [dot] il

In 2002, a year long project at Tel Aviv University's Public Interest Law Resource Center developed the country's first legal aid advocacy program devoted solely to refugees. In October 2003, this pilot project became the Refugee Rights Clinic. The Refugee Rights Clinic is part of the law school’s Clinical Legal Education Program, which now includes six clinics in various areas of law, including welfare, employment, criminal justice, community advocacy, micro-business, environmental law and human rights.

The Refugee Rights Clinic provides free legal aid to refugees and asylum-seekers regardless of nationality, promotes legal and policy reform through research and advocacy, and teaches refugee law to a new generation of Israeli lawyers. The Refugee Rights Clinic provides free legal assistance on an array of issues: applications for refugee status; appeals on the rejection of applications; release from detention; family reunification, etc. The clients are referred to the clinic by various NGOs - Physicians for Human Rights, the Hotline for Migrant Workers, the Gay and Lesbian Association, the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, and others. Many clients are referred by their friends, fellow migrants or refugees. Currently the number of people who apply for legal aid exceeds the capacity of the clinic, and some people are turned away.

The Clinic has a central role in the development of Israel's nascent asylum system. Although Israel had been one of the drafters of the Refugee Convention, and ratified it in 1954, the Convention was never adopted by enabling legislation and only in 2002 did the Government issue regulations regarding the treatment of asylum seekers in Israel. The RSD process is still dependent to a large extent on UNHCR. During 2009 the Ministry of the Interior is expected to assume RSD functions. The Clinic has been monitoring the process closely, and been filling position papers and petitions to ensure that asylum seekers receive a fair process.

Shatz, Mann & Cohen

Tel Aviv
Email: infoatshatz [dot] co [dot] il

The Shatz, Mann & Cohen Law Firm was founded in 2009 and focuses on fighting human rights abuses in Israel and in the occupied territories. One of their main areas of practice is refugee and asylum law. They have considerable experience both in courts - fighting illegal detention and deportation - and with the ministry of interior. They represent refugees on a pro-bono basis.

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