The conference on combating illicit financial transactions in Africa, scheduled for mid-March, has been postponed.
The African Union has postponed a conference scheduled to take place in Tunisia this month, Bloomberg reported, following criticism of the government’s crackdown and racist attacks against sub-Saharan nationals.
An African Union spokeswoman informed the news agency by text message on Monday that the conference on combating illicit financial flows in Africa, scheduled for mid-March, has been postponed.
No new host country has been chosen for the meeting.
The African Union issued a statement on February 24 urging Tunisia to “abstain from racist hate speech that could cause harm to people”.
The AU committee said it had summoned Tunisia’s representative to an emergency meeting to register “deep shock and concern at the form and content” of the comments on behalf of the bloc across the continent.
Citizens of sub-Saharan African countries have been the target of racist attacks following a speech by President Kais Saied blaming undocumented immigrants for an increase in violent crime.
He also claimed on February 21 that migration was a conspiracy to change Tunisia’s demographic makeup. His speech was followed by dozens of arrests and drew criticism from human rights activists.
Hundreds of people protested in Tunis to denounce Saied’s speech and accuse him of racist remarks against refugees.
Ivory Coast, Mali and Guinea started repatriating their citizens from Tunisia last week.
Tunisia has denied responsibility for the racist violence, saying it was merely trying to ensure “the laws of the country are respected to avoid chaos”.
Romdhane Ben Amor, spokesperson for the Tunisian Forum for Economic and Social Rights, was quoted by Reuters news agency as saying that “the presidential campaign aims to create an imaginary enemy for Tunisians to distract them from their fundamental problems.”
Tunisia is a major transit point for refugees crossing the Mediterranean to Europe, including a growing number of Tunisians and people from other African countries.
Black Tunisians have a long history in the country and make up 10 to 15 percent of the population. Human rights groups have said the country has not done enough to tackle racism.