Tunisia: Black migrants on Kais Saied's racist remarks


12 May, 2023

"We need to move. We are not safe here."

Josephus, from Sierra Leone, is one of over 100 migrants from Sub-Saharan African countries in a refugee camp outside the IOM offices in Tunis, asking for help from UN bodies to be evacuated from Tunisia.

Josephus spoke to The New Arab last week about the racist attacks he and other Black migrants have experienced in Tunisia, including torture, confiscation of private property, arbitrary detention, and imprisonment by authorities, as well as frequent harassment and assault by Tunisian civilians.

Many migrants from Sub-Saharan African countries have left Tunisia since President Kais Saied made a speech in February that many have called out as racist.

On February 21, Saied said “hordes of irregular migrants from Sub-Saharan Africa” had come to Tunisia, “with all the violence, crime, and unacceptable practices that entails”. He said this was an “unnatural” situation and part of a plan designed to “change the demographic make-up” and turn Tunisia into “just another African country that doesn’t belong to the Arab and Islamic nations anymore”.

Most of the estimated 21,000 sub-Saharan African people in Tunisia are undocumented, making it complicated for them to leave the country, while many of them – including Josephus and his wife and child – have lost their work and homes in recent months.


Produced by Alexander Durie