Human Rights organizations deplore Tunisian authorities’ restrictions on refugee assistance

Twenty-one human rights institutions and organizations in Tunisia reported that the authorities have restricted their activists during their humanitarian action in solidarity with foreign migrants in the country.

In a joint statement, the institutions denounced “the restrictive policy adopted by the Ministry of Interior against helping the vulnerable living in severe humanitarian circumstances that require solidarity.”

Tunisian President Kais Saied stressed in a speech he made on February 21 that “urgent measures” should be taken to stop the flow of irregular migrants from sub-Saharan Africa.

He said that the presence of these irregular migrants in Tunisia is a source of “violence and crimes,” and that it is part of a “criminal arrangement” aimed at “changing the demography of Tunisia.” Saeed’s statements were widely condemned by international and Tunisian organizations, which considered them “racist and advocating hatred.”

In their statement, the human rights organizations considered that “the recent policies of the authority have created a hostile environment against immigrants,” and went to “deter citizens from expressing solidarity with them and helping them.”

The statement spoke of “the police deliberately harassing those in solidarity with the migrants who are protesting in front of the headquarters of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and Migrants in Tunisia.”

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