Hundreds of black Africans fled the country after Tunisia’s president warned that black Africans were invading the country as part of a “foreign conspiracy” to dilute the Arab and Islamic heritage. The head of state’s statements led to racist attacks on the illegal migrants.
Like the other North African countries, Tunisia is considered a stopover for black Africans who want to cross over to Europe. However, some of them want to stay there permanently, especially since there are also options in the country as a result of tourism. But the ethnically Berber, Iberian and Arab population seems to harbor resentment towards the sub-Saharan Africans. This is also reflected in the recent statements by President Kaïs Saïed.
Saïed said that Tunisia was facing a migration crisis. A “conspiracy” by foreign actors and nations to change Tunisia’s demographics and dilute its Arab and Islamic heritage is to blame. According to the French newspaper La Croix, “the President’s speech unleashed a wave of attacks on sub-Saharans, who rushed to their embassies by the dozens to be repatriated”.
According to this, around 300 Ivorians and Malians have already had flights home organized through the embassies of their countries. Other embassies also organized such flights home for their Tunisian citizens after the President’s speech led to racist attacks on black Africans. Given that Saïed has repeatedly said in recent weeks that illegal immigrants from sub-Saharan Africa are a source of “violence and crime” and part of a “criminal enterprise” aimed at “changing the demographic composition ”, one must assume that the mood in the country is heated.
Since his comments, a significant number of the 21,000 officially registered sub-Saharan Africans in Tunisia, many of whom are in Tunisia irregularly, have lost their jobs and homes, La Croix reports. Police and authorities are stepping up crackdowns on the illegal migrants, resulting in dozens of them being arrested during police stops. There are already Tunisian groups that specifically hunt down black Africans and beat them up.
It can be assumed that word of this will also get around among those willing to migrate south of the Sahara, so that they will probably avoid the country in the future. After the destabilized neighboring country Libya, Tunisia is now becoming increasingly uninteresting for illegal migrants. However, it is questionable whether this will slow down immigration from Africa to Europe.
Leave a Reply