Amnesty International Algeria has condemned the “hateful” and “racist” campaign against sub-Saharan nationals and refugees that has circulated on social media this week following International World Refugee Day on 20 June.
During a press conference held at its headquarters in Algiers on the situation of stranded Syrians between Algeria and Morocco, Director of Amnesty International Algeria, Hassina Oussedik, expressed regret that “some people have chosen International Refugee Day to lead a racist campaign against sub-Saharan migrants.”
“We have noticed that some people chose that day to lead a racist and shocking campaign against Sub-Saharans, Africans and people of colour,” Oussedik explained before denouncing the calls for violence relayed on social networks.
Yesterday, the hashtag “No to Africans in Algeria” was widely shared on Twitter where some users called for the “clean up [of] cities“ in Algeria.
Oussedik criticised the “racist remarks and calls for violence” circulating online and called on authorities to take necessary measures by applying laws that condemn violence and racism.
“We must react and show that the people who make these remarks do not reflect the whole of Algerian society. We are an African country. We have compatriots who have a darker skin colour. It is important that we work on tolerance and acceptance of our differences.”
This campaign is a shocking, scandalous event that does not honour Algeria or the Algerians and we cannot remain silent.
Users also took to social media to blast the hashtag and the racism of certain users.
This hashtag is disgusting. Are we not African ourselves? I'm actually sickened by my own people.
— nadz (@nadzburner) June 20, 2017
Oussedik further went on to criticise how “the media [has] played a bad role” and called on them to participate in raising awareness and propagating tolerance.
Amnesty has also urged the Algerian government to repeal certain sections of the Aliens Act, including those criminalising the irregular entry, stay and exit of Algerian territory.
“Some people brave all the prohibitions to escape from the dangers and take refuge in Algeria. These laws are a further evil for the migrants and that does not regulate their situation.”