Geneva - In a letter to Commissioner Remy Ngoy Lumbu, Chairperson of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR), Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor expressed deep concern over the escalating human rights abuses in Tunisia.
The letter offered insight on the disturbing trends of repression, violence, and disregard for fundamental liberties in the North African nation. It cited meticulously documented data highlighting several alarming incidents in Tunisia, where Black Africans have been subject to violations of their basic human rights. The violations encompass a wide range of issues, such as the recent stranding of children and pregnant women in the desert after their forcible expulsion from Tunisia.
The letter emphasised that it is incumbent on the ACHPR to act promptly to ensure that the fundamental rights and freedoms of all citizens on the African continent are upheld, urging it to work closely with the embassies of concerned African nations to organise and coordinate evacuation operations for their nationals. Many African migrants in Tunisia are susceptible to violence, exploitation, and precarious living conditions, and the ACHPR’s active participation in the evacuation process is critical to safeguarding these individuals.
Pointing to the need for the ACHPR to communicate openly with Tunisian authorities, Euro-Med Monitor’s letter also underscored the necessity of pressing Tunisia to take immediate measures to abolish its racist and xenophobic practices and provide equal protection for all migrants, regardless of race or nationality.
“Diplomatic efforts aimed at encouraging positive change in Tunisia’s treatment of Black African migrants can lay the groundwork for future reforms,” said Ama Gyambrah, a researcher on African Migrants’ Rights at Euro-Med Monitor.
Euro-Med Monitor highlighted the importance of implementing a systematic method for regularly monitoring and reporting on Tunisian progress in tackling discrimination against Black African migrants. To ensure the acquisition of reliable, up-to-date data, this monitoring system should involve ongoing engagement with relevant parties; this will allow the ACHPR to effectively assess Tunisia’s actions.
The letter reaffirmed Euro Med Human Rights Monitor’s commitment to upholding human rights principles and protecting the dignity of every individual, regardless of race, nationality, class, ethnic origin, or religious background.
As the organisation’s letter gains traction, it brings Tunisia’s human rights situation to the forefront of international concern, signalling a call for immediate intervention to address the country’s pressing issues and restore dignity and justice for all.
Hon. Commissioner Remy Ngoy Lumbu,
Chairperson of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights
RE: Urgent call for the protection of Black African migrants in Tunisia and reforms to end human rights abuses
Recognising your unwavering commitment to safeguarding human rights and your awareness of the grave human rights violations faced by Black Africans in Tunisia, we urgently seek your support in putting an end to these appalling abuses.
Hundreds of vulnerable individuals, including children and pregnant women, are stranded in the desert after having been forcibly expelled from Tunisia. The conditions they are enduring are abhorrent, with a severe lack of food, water, and medical care—in addition to temperatures as high as 50°C—threatening their survival.
Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor is a Geneva-based nongovernmental organisation for the protection of human rights with regional offices and representatives across the MENA regional and Europe. Since the expulsion of dozens of Black Africans from Tunisia in early July, we have gathered and documented several testimonies of expelled migrants and asylum seekers.
Multiple migrants say that Tunisian security forces stopped them, confiscated their passports and other official documentation, and then forced them to burn the documents. Afterwards, the Tunisian forces transferred the migrants to an outpost on the Libyan border, where they spent the night in deplorable humanitarian conditions before being forced to leave Tunisian soil.
These migrants report being subjected to verbal abuse and violent assaults by Tunisian border guards, who piled them into a small space for long hours, unleashed police dogs on them, beat them with fists and iron batons, and shot at a very close range for intimidation purposes, as well as tormented them psychologically.
It is incumbent upon the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights to take immediate action and ensure that the fundamental rights and freedoms of all individuals within the African continent are upheld. Therefore, we earnestly call upon the Commission to take the following actions to address this urgent humanitarian crisis:
Evacuate African migrants to safety: We call on the Commission to work closely with, and to urge the embassies of, each of the concerned African countries in order to coordinate efforts to evacuate their nationals to safety.
Constructive engagement with Tunisian authorities: The Commission should engage in open dialogues with Tunisian authorities, emphasising their serious commitment to uphold international human rights norms and the requirements of the African Charter. Simultaneously, the Commission should urge Tunisia to take immediate steps to put an end to its racist and xenophobic policies and practices, and to guarantee equal protection for all migrants, regardless of color or nationality. Diplomatic efforts aimed at encouraging positive change in Tunisia’s treatment of Black African migrants can lay the groundwork for future reforms.
Periodic monitoring and reporting: Establishing a systematic mechanism for periodic monitoring and reporting on Tunisia’s progress in combating discrimination against Black African migrants is crucial. This monitoring system should include consistent opportunities for collaboration with relevant parties to ensure the collection of accurate, up-to-date data, which will enable the Commission to assess Tunisia’s efforts and hold its government accountable.
In light of the urgency of this matter, we humbly request that the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights prioritise this issue and keep us updated on its efforts to address this pressing concern. Transparent communication regarding any progress made will help us to mobilise further support and resources for the cause.
Given the pressing situation, we humbly request a meeting with you to discuss these concerning developments, share our insights and research findings, and explore potential strategies to protect the rights and dignity of African migrants in Tunisia. We kindly request a suitable date and time for the meeting, acknowledging your busy schedule and the pressing matters you address daily. We are open to conducting the meeting in any format that suits your convenience, via video conference, or by any other means that you may prefer.
Thank you for your attention to this urgent matter.
Researcher on African Migrants’ Rights at Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor