Human rights group calls on Tunisia to cease collective expulsions of migrants

Human Rights Watch (HRW) said on Thursday that Tunisia should halt collective expatriations of sub-Saharan African migrants and allow access to humanitarian aid for migrants sent a dangerous area of on the Tunisia-Libya border.

On Wednesday, a Tunisian rights group and a lawmaker reported that Tunisia had relocated hundreds of migrants to a remote area along the border. Witnesses further confirmed that additional migrants were being transported on outbound trains following a series of violent incidents.

A week-long series of clashes between migrants and residents occurred in the port of Sfax, resulting in the death of a Tunisian man.

Locals raised concerns about disruptive behavior exhibited by migrants, while migrants voiced complaints of experiencing racist harassment.

The people who were expelled encompassed diverse African nationalities, including Ivorian, Cameroonian, Malian, Guinean, Chadian, Sudanese, Senegalese. Among them were 29 children and three pregnant women, according to HRW.

“Not only is it unconscionable to abuse people and abandon them in the desert, but collective expulsions violate international law,” HRW said.

Witnesses reported that while the authorities relocated hundreds of migrants near the Libyan border, dozens of other African migrants are left sleeping on the streets near the Lakhmi Mosque in Sfax.

Videos showed some residents providing them with food and water.

Tunisia faces pressure from European countries to curb the departure of large numbers of migrants from its coasts. However, President Kais Saied firmly stated that Tunisia would not act as a border guard and would not permit the settlement of immigrants within the country.

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