On Thursday, March 9 at 19:30 GMT:
Activists in Tunisia are raising alarm about an increase in racist violence and hate speech against migrants and refugees from sub-Saharan Africa residing in the country. The increasingly inflammatory rhetoric has also been accompanied by a crackdown on migrants, marked by arrests, detentions and deportations.
The outcry follows recent statements by Tunisian President Kais Saied in which he embraces protesters’ alleged xenophobic and anti-black racist rhetoric. President Saied claimed that the presence of migrants is part of a plot to change the demographic makeup of the country. After backlash, he made a statement denouncing racism and announcing changes to visa rules for African citizens.
While activists remain skeptical of his announcements, the rhetoric, critics say, is similar to the “grand replacement theory”; a popular conspiracy theory among nationalists used to generate populist and xenophobic support.
This comes at a time when the country is economically, politically and socially stable continues to fall leading analysts view the turn against migrants and refugees as a brutal attempt to scapegoat the country’s decline.
Anti-black racism and anti-immigrant sentiment have long been a simmering problem in the country, and in solidarity many Tunisians are taking to the streets and taking to social media to protest in support of migrants and to voice their own experiences of anti-black racism. share Tunisia.
In response, both countries and international bodies have condemned the violence and speech. The World Bank pauses future work with the country, the African Union has issued a statement denouncing the treatment of migrants, and several sub-Saharan countries have begun repatriation of citizens who want to leave Tunisia.
In this episode of The Stream, we look at the causes of racism and violence against black people in Tunisia.
In this episode of The Stream we speak with:
Elizia Volkman @Elizia Volkmann
Activist and co-founder, Voices of Black Tunisian Women
Amna Guellali @aguellaa
Deputy Regional Director for MENA, Amnesty International