In Tunisia, authorities have arrested hundreds of sub-Saharan African refugees following President Kais Saied’s racist remarks last month calling for an end to sub-Saharan migration as he claimed Black migrants were part of a so-called plot to alter Tunisia’s demographics. The comments have triggered a wave of violence and hate crimes against African refugees, forcing many of them to seek safety at the U.N.’s International Organization for Migration building in the capital Tunis after being attacked. Saied has faced widespread backlash over his remarks. The African Union postponed a conference scheduled to take place in Tunisia this month.
Meanwhile, the Biden administration said it was concerned by the comments, as well as the arbitrary arrest of refugees in Tunisia. U.S. State Department spokesperson Ned Price addressed the issue Monday.
Ned Price: “These remarks are not in keeping with Tunisia’s long history of generosity and hosting and protecting refugees, asylum seekers and migrants, and we’re disturbed by reports of violence against these very migrants. We urge Tunisian authorities to meet their obligations under international law to protect the rights of refugees, asylum seekers and migrants.”