Tunisia: HRW condemns “serious abuses” against African migrants

Tunisian security forces have committed “serious abuses” against black African migrants, the NGO Human Rights Watch said on Wednesday, calling on the European Union to suspend aid to the country in the fight against irregular immigration.


Beatings, arbitrary detentions, theft of money… In recent months, Tunisian security forces have committed “serious abuses” against black African migrants, which should prompt the EU to “stop its support” to this country in the fight against irregular immigration, claims Wednesday, July 19, the NGO Human Rights Watch in a report.

HRW specifies that it has collected more than 20 testimonies from “victims of human rights violations at the hands of the Tunisian authorities”, according to a press release, which condemns the actions of “the police, the military, the coast guard”.

“These abuses document beatings, arbitrary arrests and detentions, mass deportations, dangerous acts at sea, forced evictions, theft of money and personal effects,” according to HRW.

Of those interviewed, nine returned to their countries on repatriation flights in March, and eight are still in Tunisia.

Seven others are part of a group of “1,200 black Africans who were expelled and forcibly transferred by Tunisian security forces to the borders with Libya and Algeria in early July,” HRW said.

Without water or food in the middle of the desert

After clashes that claimed the life of a Tunisian on July 3, hundreds of African migrants were driven out of the city of Sfax (middle east), the main point of departure for illegal emigration to Europe, before being transferred to inhospitable areas near Libya to the east and Algeria to the west.

Testimonies collected by the NGO show that they were left without water, food or shelter in the middle of the desert.

According to the report, “the majority of the documented abuses took place after President Kais Saied’s speech on February 21, in which he condemned illegal immigration and condemned the arrival of “hordes of migrants” who, he said, “are changing the demographic composition”. of Tunisia.

“By funding the security forces that commit abuses, the EU shares (with them) the responsibility for the suffering inflicted on migrants, refugees and asylum seekers,” stressed Lauren Seibert, an HRW researcher quoted in the report.

The EU and Tunisia entered into “a strategic partnership” on Sunday, which allows Brussels to grant 105 million euros to Tunis in the form of equipment and to finance a “voluntary return” of 6,000 sub-Saharan inhabitants.


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