Mutasim Ali, a 29-year-old activist from Darfur, has become the first Sudanese asylum seeker to be granted refugee status in Israel.
An excited Mutasim, who is active with a number of NIF grantees working to support African asylum seekers, said: “I really hope it will be a turning point for African asylum seekers, I really think Israel can turn asylum seekers into a contribution to this country. I am really happy and excited, but my happiness will not be complete until I see everyone in my community getting this status.”
Ali fled to Israel after the Sudanese military regime destroyed his village. Since arriving, he has spent a total of 14 months in the Holot detention facility.
Between 2009 and 2015, Sudanese asylum seekers have submitted 3,165 requests for refugee status. The state has responded to just 45 (1.42%) of these claims, rejecting 40 and giving temporary protection to the remaining 5 people.
Asaf Weitzen, the director of the legal department at NIF grantee Hotline for Refugees and Migrants said: “I really hope it will affect other refugees. It shows that through hard work, someone who is a refugee can receive that status.”