Thu. Jul 25th, 2024

Tunisia forcibly evacuated hundreds of migrants from sub-Saharan Africa from camps in front of the UN headquarters in Tunis and then transferred them to the Algerian border.

Ramadan Ben Amor, a spokesman for “the Tunisian Forum for Economic and Social Rights”, told the Agence France-Presse (AFP) that at least 300 migrants, including refugees and asylum seekers, had been forcibly evacuated.

The organization reported that police evacuated three makeshift camps set up in front of the headquarters of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM), as well as in the Lakes District Park in Tunis.

The migrants were taken “towards the Algerian border”, according to testimonies collected by the organization.

Between 500 and 700 people were living in these makeshift camps after being evicted from their homes and jobs in the months following a speech by President Kais Saied in February 2023, in which he condemned the arrival of “hordes of illegal immigrants” from sub-Saharan African countries as part of a “conspiracy to change the demographic composition” of the country.

Although the evictions were not confirmed, the Interior Ministry issued a statement referring to “security operations” aimed at countering attacks “on public security and protecting public and private property.”

Tunisia is one of the most important departure points for irregular migrants to the Italian coast across the Mediterranean.

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