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Libya border guard criticises forcible deportation of black Africans from Tunisia

July 26, 2023 at 12:04 pm

Irregular migrants during an operation carried out by the Tunisian National Guard against African irregular migrants who want to reach Europe illegally via the Mediterranean Sea on June 08, 2023 in Sfax, Tunisia [Hasan Mrad/DeFodi Images via Getty Images]

A video is circulating online showing an outraged Libyan border guard criticising the forcible deportation of black Africans from Tunisia into the desert.

In the video he approaches a man and his baby who have been left in the middle of the desert, before a couple walk past and accept some water.

“Shame on you Tunisia,” he says. “It’s 50 degrees.”

heatwave is currently engulfing North Africa and the Middle East, and temperatures have soared to above 50 degrees Celsius.

Deadly fires along the Algerian coast which killed 34 people spread to neighbouring Tunisia.

Another widely shared post online is a photo of a mother, Dosso Fari, and her daughter Marie, whose bodies were recovered from the desert by Libyan authorities after they died of thirst.

READ: Migrants at greater risk of abuse after ‘ill-judged’ EU-Tunisia deal, experts warn

On Monday, Libya’s Interior Ministry said that the bodies of five black Africans were recovered from its border with Tunisia during a routine patrol.

A Human Rights Watch (HRW) report released this month documented that Tunisian police and military have been rounding up black Africans in the country and dumping them on the border with Libya and Algeria.

Abuses documented by the advocacy group include beatings, theft of belongings, and in some cases torture.

UN experts raised concern over reports that black Africans were being forcibly expelled from Tunisia, which is prohibited under international law, and called on authorities to halt any further deportations.

Attacks on black Africans in Tunisia have worsened since February, after Tunisia’s President Kais Saied announced that immigration was a plot aimed at changing the country’s demography.

Despite Saied’s comments, and the documented forcible deportation of migrants from Tunisia, in mid-July the EU finalised a migration agreement with Tunis which has drawn widespread criticism.

Under the deal, Tunisia will receive an aid package in exchange for authorities stopping migrants crossing the Mediterranean in the direction of Europe.

Critics called the deal out for its disregard for the Tunisian government’s treatment of black Africans and also its persecution of the opposition and the judiciary.