The Tunisian authorities should to immediately halt what have been described as “collective expulsions” of sub-Saharan migrants, the New York-based organisation Human Rights Watch (HRW) says.
HRW says that in the past few days Tunisia has expelled several hundred black African migrants and asylum seekers, including children and pregnant women from the port city Sfax, close to the Libyan border.
It says they have been left stranded and in dire conditions in a remote desert area.
“The Tunisian government should halt collective expulsions and urgently enable humanitarian access to the African migrants and asylum seekers already expelled to a dangerous area… with little food and no medical assistance,” said Lauren Seibert, refugee and migrant rights researcher at HRW.
The recent unrest was triggered by the killing of a Tunisian man during a brawl between Tunisians and migrants in Sfax, on 3 July. Tension continued to escalate, leading to a surge in racially motivated attacks.
HRW urged the Tunisian government to conduct a thorough investigation into the reported abuses and hold the responsible security forces accountable.
Tensions have increased in Tunisia since President Kais Saied alleged that the migrants were part of a conspiracy to change the demographic composition of the North African country.