Racist violence targets black migrants, refugees in Tunisia

2023-03-15 20:43:18
Racist violence targets black migrants, refugees in Tunisia

Tunisian authorities should ensure an immediate end to the wave of attacks against Black migrants across the North African nation, human rights organizations have said.

The violence started in early February and accelerated following racist and xenophobic comments made by President Kais Saied on 21 February.

Black people have faced of surge in violent assaults, robberies, and vandalism by Tunisian citizens, arbitrary evictions by landlords, and job terminations by employers, that followed Saied’s speech.

President Saied’s recent attempt to mitigate the serious harm from his speech does not go far enough, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International said.

Beginning in early February, Tunisian police carried out arrests, seemingly targeting Black African foreigners based on their appearance or the neighborhoods in which they live. At least 850 were reportedly indiscriminately arrested, apparently based on racial profiling, according to the Tunisian chapter of Lawyers Without Borders (ASF).

On March 5, the presidency issued a statement rejecting “alleged racism” and listing planned measures “to facilitate the procedures for foreign residents and to protect various communities,” including streamlining registration for foreign students, facilitating voluntary repatriations, and a new hotline to report abuses.

However, the statement did not condemn the criminal assaults on Black migrants, or instruct the security forces to protect those at risk or prosecutors to hold accountable anyone suspected of carrying out criminal acts against foreigners.

The authorities have announced only one arrest in the wave of assaults, creating an atmosphere of impunity that can embolden potential attackers.


Error! Error occured!