Saturday, June 10, 2023

Ivory Coast Repatriates Hundreds More After Tunisia Racism Row

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On Thursday, nearly 300 Ivorians were repatriated from Tunisia. Following President Kais Saied’s statement that they posed a demographic threat, migrants in Tunisia claim they no longer feel safe.

According to Ibrahim Sy Savane, the ambassador of Ivory Coast in Tunis, a jumbo jet chartered by Ethiopian Airlines carried 287 people, including 21 toddlers, back to Abidjan.

Since chartered flights began in early March, Savane told AFP, a total of 1,053 Ivorians have been repatriated from Tunisia with the most recent departures.

On February 21, Saied stated that immigrants from sub-Saharan Africa aimed to “change the demographic composition” of Tunisia and separate it from the Islamic and Arab worlds, and that they were responsible for a wave of “violence and crime.”

Tunisia, a North African nation of 12 million individuals, has an expected 21,000 travelers from different pieces of Africa, addressing 0.2 percent of the populace.

Migrants reported an increase in racist attacks in the days following Saied’s speech, and many were evicted from their homes by landlords in fear of large fines or prison sentences for housing them.

In addition, informal workers in the construction and other industries were laid off, and thousands of people rushed to their embassies to be repatriated.

Savane stated that the embassy has registered just under 3,000 Ivorians for repatriation.

The largest sub-Saharan African community in Tunisia is made up of approximately 7,000 Ivorians who can enter the country without needing a visa.

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While some migrants arrive to study, many use Tunisia as a starting point for their attempts to travel by sea to Europe. Tunis has been under pressure from European governments to control the flow.

Portions of Tunisia’s shoreline are inside 150 kilometers (90 miles) of the Italian island of Lampedusa.

No less than three dangerous wrecks of boats conveying travelers, including numerous Ivorians, have been recorded off Tunisia since early Walk.

Since Wednesday, the coastguard had intercepted 2,034 migrants, including nine Tunisians, and recovered the bodies of seven others, according to a spokesman for the Tunisian National Guard on Thursday.

After their boat capsized off the coast of Tunisia on Wednesday, a rights group reported that five migrants perished and another 28 were missing.

The Ivorian ambassador stated that the country planned to charter additional repatriation flights, calling it “a race against time.”

“To prevent more desperate people from throwing themselves into the Mediterranean with little chance of survival” was his stated goal.

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