22 February 2023
Press release originally published by the Forum Tunisien des Droits Economiques et Sociaux (FTDES) on 16 February.
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The original press release (in French) is available here. It was published days before another speech by the Tunisian president in which he appeared to take up the "Great Replacement" conspiracy theory, saying: "The undeclared goal of the successive waves of illegal immigration is to consider Tunisia a purely African country that has no affiliation to the Arab and Islamic nations."
"Africa for Africans" is what President Kais Saied said during his speech at the Europe-Africa summit in Brussels on February 17, 2022. However, the latest events in Tunisia go against the declaration of President Kais Saied, in view of the campaign launched by the security apparatus entitled "Reinforcement of the security fabric and reduction of the phenomenon of illegal residence in Tunisia", which has resulted in recent days in waves of massive arrests.
In recent days, more than 300 migrants have been arrested, taken into custody and brought to justice. They were arrested following a "face control" identity check or even following their presence in court in support of their relatives.
At the same time, the Tunisian State is turning a deaf ear to the rise of hateful and racist discourse on social networks and in certain media, which specifically targets migrants from sub-Saharan Africa; this hateful and racist speech is even carried by certain political parties, which carry out propaganda actions on the ground facilitated by the regional authorities.
Today, according to the latest study by the National Institute of Statistics, dating from 2021, the number of migrants from sub-Saharan Africa in Tunisia would be 21,466, including students. These figures belie the discriminatory racist discourse based on the amplification and security approach to the treatment of migration issues in Tunisia.
Human rights violations are reported daily, ranging from inhuman and degrading treatment, arbitrary detention at borders at gunpoint, confiscation of phones, denial of access to medical care. The issue of the administrative status of sub-Saharan migrants presents a humanitarian challenge that requires a response that respects rights and includes marginalized people, rather than repressive security approaches.
In this sense, the actions of the Tunisian authorities run counter to their obligations under the 1951 Geneva Convention on Refugees, which Tunisia ratified in 1957, as well as the African Charter on Human Rights. and peoples.
European border externalization policies have for years contributed to transforming Tunisia into a key player in monitoring migration routes in the Mediterranean, including the interception of migrant boats outside territorial waters and their transfer to Tunisia. Discriminatory and restrictive policies in Algeria also contribute to pushing migrants to flee to Tunisia. These policies deepen the human tragedy of migrants in a Tunisia in political and socio-economic crisis.
Signatory organizations and associations:
Forum tunisien des droits économiques et sociaux (FTDES)
Ligue tunisienne des droits de l'homme (LTDH)
Association tunisienne des femmes démocrates (ATFD)
Avocat sans frontières (ASF)
Association convergence pour les droits et les libertés (ACDL)
Association pour le droit à la différence (ADD)
Association tunisienne de défense des droits individuels (ADLI)
Association Nachaz Dissonances
Association tunisienne pour la justice et l' égalité - Damej
Association pour le leadership et le développement en Afrique (ALDA)
Plateforme tunisienne des alternatives
Organisation tunisenne contre la torture (OCTT)
Comité pour le respect des libertés et des droits de l'homme en Tunisie (CRLDHT)
Fédération des tunisiens citoyens des deux rives (FTCR)
Association tunisienne pour l'action culturelle
Voix de femmes
Association tunisienne de soutien aux minorités (ATSM)
Organisation mondiale contre la torture (OMCT)
Union des diplômés chômeurs (UDC)
Association des mères des disparus-es (AMD)
Association la terre pour tous-tes (ATT)
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