Inhuman and degrading treatment of Black Af-ricans in Tunisia, the result of institutional rac-ism and the externalisation of European migra-tion policies

The undersigned organisations express their deep concern and indignation regarding the pernicious situation in Tunisia, particularly in recent days in Sfax following the death of a Tunisian national, allegedly at the hands of sub-Saharan Africans, during a scuffle on 3 July 2023 [1]. Since then, the city has become the scene of clashes between a section of the population stirred up by hate campaigns on social media, and targeted exiles from sub-Saharan Africa living in the city. This adds to the critical racist and xenophobic events that took place in March 2023 [2], which resulted in the deaths of three people of Sub-Saharan African origin.

The hate and racist speech – a real “push for crime”- uttered by the Tunisian President in February 2023 [3] triggered these exactions and gave a blank cheque to the severe violence against exiles. This was occasioned by the local authorities’ attitude, allowing fake news to persist on social media and by the violent behaviour of some groups – police, military, and members of the population – against black exiles systematically attacked and abused with total impunity [4].

Several testimonies especially from the people most affected, the organisations of the civil society and the foreign media, estimate that serious violations of human rights are perpetrated: arbitrary and violent arrests, defenestration, stabbing… These actors denounce a genuine “migrants’ hunt” and roundups followed by the forced return of thousands of people to the borders with Algeria and Libya. The aim of the Tunisian authorities seems to be to gather these sub-Saharan exiles at the borders without any assistance and without any means of survival, including asylum seekers. Roundups precede or are combined with arbitrary evictions from their homes, destruction or theft of their property, inhuman and degrading treatment and physical violence [5]. Violations of human rights are being committed by public authorities and/or private militia widely documented, but the perpetrators are not yet convicted neither by the courts nor by the state authorities.

All this is happening within the context of an unprecedented crisis in Tunisia affecting all levels: economic, social, political, institutional, financial, etc. A crisis deepened by pressure and haggling from the European Union (EU), which intends to impose on Tunisia the externalisation of border controls and migration management through a “strengthened” but unequal partnership on migration [6]. This repressive policy involves the expulsion from European countries of all exiles with no right to residency who have transited through Tunisia, which is designated as a “safe country”, unlike Libya. The reason for this is to make Tunisia the EU’s border guard, responsible for containing “undesirable” migration and keeping it as far away from European territory as possible, in exchange for substantial and timely financial aid (at least € 900,000). And all this despite the concerns raised by the authoritarian drift in Tunisia [7] and the disregard for the rule of law and the fundamental rights of exiles in Tunisia.
This crisis is also exacerbated by the ambiguity of the Algerian authorities who are exploiting the migration issue for political reasons by diverting people of sub-Saharan origin from Algeria – which has land borders with sub-Saharan African countries – to Tunisia, which does not.

We express our full solidarity with all the victims of violence, whatever their nationality; we condemn this racist violence, wherever it originates, and express our indignation at the deafening and complicit silence of the Tunisian authorities.
We call on Tunisia to assume its responsibilities by protecting the exiles on its territory from all types of abuse, by putting an end to this racist violence and to the illegal deportations at Tunisia’s borders, and to comply with international law.

Finally, we denounce in the strongest terms the pressure exerted by the EU on Tunisia in the context of unequal and bargained cooperation for the purpose of imposing its ultra-secure immigration and asylum policy on this Mediterranean country, in defiance of international law and the rights of exiles.

Associations : 

Agir pour le changement et la démocratie en Algérie (ACDA 

Action jeunesse du FMAS – Maroc (AJM) 

Association Femmes plurielles (FP 

Assemblée citoyenne des originaires de Turquie (ACORT 

Association de défense des droits de l’homme au Maroc (ASDHOM 

Association des marocains en France (AMF) 

Association des travailleurs maghrébins de France (ATMF)   

Association Khamsa Solidaire Ici et Ailleurs, Meurthe et Moselle, France  

Association N’aoura, Bruxelles  

Association pour la taxation des transactions financières et pour l »action citoyenne (ATTAC) 

Cedetim / IPAM 

Coalition internationale des sans-papiers et  migrants (CISPM 

Coalition marocaine pour la justice climatique (CMJC 

Collectif associatif pour m’observation des élections – Maroc  

Collectif marocain pour la protection sociale (CMPS) 

Comité de suivi du forum social maghrébin (FSMAGH) 

Comité pour le respect des libertés et des droits de l’Homme en Tunisie  (CRLDHT) 

Coordination des sans-papiers 75 (CSP-75 

Droit ici et là-bas (Diel) 

Droit au logement (DAL 

Droit devant  


Euro-Mediterraan Centrum Migratie & Ontwikkeling (EMCEMO 

Fédération des associations avec tous.te.s les immigré.e .s (FASTI 

Fédération des tunisiens citoyens des deux rives (FTCR) 

Fondation Frantz Fanon (FFF 

Forum des alternatifs Maroc (FMAS 

Groupe d’information et de soutien aux travailleurs immigrés (GISTI) 

Le réseau syndical de la migration au Maroc   

Riposte internationale (RI) 

Le Collectif Soumoud  

Le Pont de Genève – Suisse 

Ligue algérienne de défense des droits de l’Homme (LADDH 

Ligue des droits de l’Homme (LDH) 

Mouvement contre le racisme et pour  l’amitié entre les peuples (MRAP 

Observatoire marocain des libertés publiques (OMLP) 

Portail Maghreb Machrek  

Réseau euro Med France (REF) 

SOS Migrants  ASBL Belgique  

SOS Racisme  

Union des Juifs français pour la Paix (UJFP) 

Union des travailleurs immigrés tunisiens (UTIT)   

International organisations : 

Avocats Sans Frontières (ASF 

Coordination maghrébine des droits de l’Homme (CMODH) 

Fédération internationale des droits de l’Homme (FIDH 

Euromed-Droit – Euromed-Right  


No peace without justice 

Trade Unions 

Confédération française démocratique du travail (CFDT 

Confédération générale du Travail (CGT) 

Fédération syndicale unitaire (FSU) 

Union syndicale solidaire  



Mouvement des progressistes (MDP 

Nouveau parti anticapitaliste (NPA) 

Pour une Ecologie Populaire et Sociale  (PEPS