Rights 226

The struggle is twofold for LGBT migrants in Tunisia

Fleeing persecution in their countries of origin, LGBT migrants set off in the hopes of finding safety elsewhere. During their journey across country borders, they are exposed to extreme violence, and sexual abuse in particular. Their ordeal continues when they arrive in Tunisia, where they are confronted with other forms of abuse. For these individuals, the future does not lie in Tunisia. But their safe passage to another country requires the support of the UNHCR.

Report: Black and Protestant in Tunisia

The religious tendencies of immigrants in Tunisia have become an object of politicization. President Kais Saied accuses Christian immigrants of threatening the country’s Muslim identity. Protestants have taken to worshiping in rented hotel conference rooms, where they can practice their religion–though not without fear for their safety. And the government stands by.

Sub-Saharans in Tunisia: The untruths expounded by president Kais Saied

Tunisia’s president has accused civil society of fomenting the country’s colonization by undocumented migrants from sub-Saharan Africa. Kais Saied denounces those who wish to « change the demographic composition » of Tunisia, evoking their « violence and criminality ». His proof? Contacted by Nawaat, the Interior Ministry affirmed that it does not have statistics regarding the number of migrants implicated in criminal activities. A glimpse at the facts exposes the president’s xenophobic fiction for what it is.

Racism and Sub-Saharans in Tunisia: Italian influence or nationalistic lobbying?

Tunisian president’s shocking statement on sub-Saharan Africans in the country sparked xenophobic violence, police arrests, and evictions against them. It reflects Tunisia’s non-receptive migration policies and a security-focused approach. The wave of repression is linked to EU externalization of migration policies, and it is possible that Italian pressure and lobbying by the Tunisian Nationalist Party played a role. In the aftermath of the statement’s release, the Presidency has taken steps to address the criticism that ensued.

Tunisian Nationalist Party: Government-authorized racism

A political party recognized by the Tunisian government is openly displaying its xenophobia and rejection of sub-Saharan migrants. « Racism is a heinous crime punishable by the law. This racist discourse includes the incitation of violence and violates the provisions under Article 9 of the law combating racial discrimination », one jurist says. And yet members of the Tunisian Nationalist Party are clearly benefiting from its ins with authorities, even receiving airtime on television.

« You’re telling me they’re blacks? »: Framing anti-Black racism in Tunisia

In a recent video diffused on different social media accounts, including the account of one highly-followed Tunisian Instagram personality, a crowd of Tunisians vehemently protest the presence of sub-Saharan African migrants in the country. The display of unabashed racism, especially by those who insist that their grievances have nothing to do with racial prejudice, is frighteningly familiar.

Feminist outcry against Tunisia’s electoral law

The new electoral law unilaterally decreed by president Kais Saied spurred outcry among women’s rights advocates in Tunisia. In protest of the new legislation, a feminist movement formed of nine associations staged a sit-in before the Independent High Authority for Elections (ISIE). As these activists voice demands for absolute parity between men and women in the public sphere, the president’s backwards approach to equality threatens to reverse women’s political gains.

Sub-Saharan migrants in Tunisia: Marginalization of a replacement workforce

Some 57 thousand sub-Saharan migrants are currently living in Tunisia, according to the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA). To make ends meet, many of them take on precarious, underpaid jobs as builders, servers and agricultural workers. This demographic of foreign workers has replaced a Tunisian workforce that has shown itself reluctant to such economic activities. In the meantime, Tunisian legislation has failed to address what is becoming a dire socio-economic dilemma, as the absence of clear policy leaves free rein to all sorts of abuses against migrant workers.