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|2021 planning figures|
|5,000||people of concern will be supported through advocacy, legal interventions and information provided on refugee status determination|
|2,500||persons at heightened risk will receive psychosocial assistance|
|1,400||people of concern will have access to medical interventions, including care and treatment of people living with HIV/AIDS|
|600||people of concern will receive multipurpose cash assistance|
|50||refugees will be referred for resettlement|
|2019 year-end results|
|5,000||people of concern received medical support|
|5,000||people of concern received legal assistance|
|2,000||people of concern received material and psychosocial support|
|1,500||at-risk and special needs children received protection and care services from UNHCR and its partners|
|1,000||survivors of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) received psychosocial counselling, resulting in 60% of known SGBV survivors receiving support|
|300||people of concern were submitted for resettlement|
People of Concern
Operational environmentIsrael hosts some 56,500 adult refugees and asylum-seekers, and an estimated 8,500 children. The majority are Eritreans and Sudanese from conflict areas, though only less than one per cent have obtained refugee status. Some of these individuals, mostly Sudanese nationals from the Darfur region, have been granted humanitarian status. Those with refugee status or humanitarian protection enjoy socio-economic rights on almost equal footing with Israeli citizens. Asylum-seekers, on the other hand, have almost no rights and have to wait for several years for their refugee status to be determined. Their employment is not legally permitted, only tolerated to work in low-skilled, manual jobs at the bottom of the pay scale.
With extremely limited access to welfare services and social security, the general health situation of the population of concern has deteriorated due to poor nutrition and lack of adequate living conditions, which have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. The lack of adequate care arrangements for pre-school children of working mothers, an absence of needed social and educational support for children with special needs and segregated education systems have exacerbated the vulnerability of children. Unable to meet their essential needs, many women have resorted to negative coping mechanisms, such as survival sex. Family separation, child neglect and domestic violence have been on the rise in direct consequence of the harsh living conditions, which is expected to continue to affect the people of concern in 2021.
UNHCR has been pursuing resettlement as the most appropriate response for some of the most vulnerable cases, and participating in the Canadian private sponsorship programme, benefitting thousands of refugees in need of a durable solution. However, resettlement places are increasingly becoming very limited.
In 2021, UNHCR will build alliances and networks, and mobilize multi-stakeholder engagement in the areas of education and positive public discourse, to combat xenophobia and intolerance toward refugees and asylum-seekers in Israel.
Key prioritiesUNHCR’s operational strategy for 2021 is centred on continuing advocacy and support for improvements to the protection environment and meeting the basic needs of people of concern, with a view to developing a comprehensive framework for long-term solutions. UNHCR will pursue specific objectives in furthering this strategy, which would include:
- Improving the quality of asylum procedures by influencing legislation, policy and practice that would ensure fair and efficient refugee status determination procedures that meet international standards.
- Enhancing the protection and care of children by improving their access to the Israeli Child Protection System, notably in the areas of health care, education, and social welfare.
- Improving the prevention of and response to gender-based violence, by engaging in advocacy, capacity-building and networking to ensure the needs of people of concern are mainstreamed in national policies and plans of action in the area of gender-based violence. UNHCR will also carry out systematic outreach activities to increase awareness among refugees and asylum-seekers, and provide psychosocial support.
- Improving the living standards and overall well-being of asylum-seekers by continuing to advocate better access to basic services.