Mali summons Ambassador in Algiers over Ill-treatment of Sub-Saharans

Following the example of Guinea, Mali has summoned its Ambassador to Algiers to express its rejection of the ill-treatment of Sub-Saharan migrants by Algerian authorities.

In total, some 1440 Malians underwent arbitrary expulsions and were abandoned in harsh conditions by Algerian authorities between January and March 2018.

In a comment to the BBC, Mali’s Foreign Minister Abdrahamane Sylla deplored Algeria’s discrimination against Malians and urged all Malian nationals feeling insecure in Algeria to leave the country immediately.

Mali, in cooperation with the International Organization for Migration (IOM), set up hosting facilities on the Algerian borders to receive migrants kicked out by Algerian authorities.

Anti-migrant populism in Algeria has been on the rise with some officials openly espousing xenophobic stands including ministers who have been blaming their country’s economic hardship on poor sub-Saharan migrants.

This anti-migrant practices and rhetoric were behind the recall of the Guinean Ambassador to Algiers earlier in January. The decision by Guinean President, Alpha Conde, drew attention to the double speak of Algeria, which aspires to have a voice in Africa while mistreating Africans on its soil.

Algerian Minister of the Interior, Noureddine Bedoui, paid a three-day visit to Guinea, this week, officially to discuss the issue of immigration, but in reality Algeria seeks to warm up relations with sub-Saharan countries. In Conakry, the Algerian official has surely tried to convince his interlocutors to appoint an ambassador to Algiers.
Besides Mali and guinea, several other sub-Saharan countries have repeatedly denounced Algeria’s attitude vis-à-vis migrants, a behavior with racist undertones adopted at the uppermost echelons of the Algerian state.

The current Algerian PM, Ahmed Ouyahya, surfed on the tide of anti-migrant populism uttering heinous remarks when he described Sub-Saharan migrants as a “source of crime, drugs and other calamities.”

Persisting on the same xenophobic remarks, Foreign Minister Abdelkader Messahel accused Sub-Saharan migrants of “involvement in crime and drug trafficking.”

Algeria is rebuked in several international human rights reports, including Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and the IOM, for bad treatment of Sub-Saharan migrants as it continues its mass expulsions of these migrants and asylum seekers who are deprived of a chance of applying for international protection under the 1951 Geneva Convention to which Algeria is a party.

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