Algeria Continues Mass Detention & Deportation of African Migrants

Algerian authorities continue their inhumane mass expulsion of African migrants into the deadly desert despite global outrage over such a degrading behavior violating international laws and rights of migrants.

The continuing selective deportation of African migrants by Algeria has been confirmed by a senior UN migration official who said that nearly 600 African migrants were abandoned by Algerian authorities in the desert with hardly any food or water, contrary to some press reports saying the discriminatory crackdown was suspended.

According to Giuseppe Loprete, Head of the UN International Organization for Migration in Niger, migrants from 16 Saharan countries were dumped at the border with Niger, the world’s most hostile terrain where temperatures can reach over 40 degrees Celsius.

Algeria has left more than 13,000 migrants in the desert of Niger and Mali since May 2017, forcing them to walk or die in the searing heat. The bodies of several, including children, have been found in the Niger desert near the Algerian border.

“Algeria is rounding up and deporting migrants in a degrading way and depriving them of the right to have their cases reviewed on an individual basis,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East and North Africa director at Human Rights Watch.

The authorities have deprived those arrested of their right to challenge their detention and possible deportation, people who were arrested told Human Rights Watch.

Amnesty International also has denounced the expulsions and the arbitrary arrests carried out by the Algerian authorities on the basis of racial profiling targeting African migrants.

“There can be no justification for rounding up and forcibly deporting hundreds of people based on the color of their skin or their assumed country of origin – a blatant case of mass racial profiling,” said Heba Morayef, North Africa Research Director at Amnesty International.

“This and the chilling scale of arbitrary arrests and summary mass expulsions (…) reveal the Algerian authorities’ deeply discriminatory attitude towards migrants from sub-Saharan Africa. They must urgently halt these unlawful arrests and deportations”, stressed the AI official.

Under international law, no one can be forcibly expelled from a country without being given a fair opportunity to challenge their expulsion. In addition, no one can be returned to a country where they would face a real risk of serious human rights violations.

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