UN Urges Algeria to Stop Expelling Sub-Saharans
The United Nations Human Rights Office (OHCHR) urged Algerian Government to stop rounding up and collectively expelling thousands of Sub-Saharan, saying such an ill- treatment violates international law.
The OHCHR call came few days after the International Organization for Migration (IOM) reported that dozens of Sub-Saharan migrants have died in abhorrent conditions on the Algerian-Niger borders as Algiers continues summary expulsions.
On a single day last month, 1,500 arrived at the remote border village of Assamakka, according to Giuseppe Loprete, IOM chief of mission in Niger.
OHCHR spokeswoman Ravina Shamdasani told a regular UN briefing in Geneva that deportations and expulsions have increased markedly since the second half of 2017, and a UN human rights team went to Niger to investigate this month.
Between March 8 and April 19, the UN human rights office said, Algerian authorities carried out at least six mass round-ups of sub-Saharan African migrants in Oran, Duira and Boufarik.
The Sub-Saharans are usually arrested on construction sites and in neighborhoods where migrants live, she said.
“We are told that people are often just arrested and detained without even checking their documents,” she deplored.
Of 25 migrants interviewed by the UN team, only one had had her passport checked before being expelled. Most had been told to put thumbprints on Arabic documents they could not read, she said.
She added that most were not told why they were being detained and were not allowed to pick up their belongings, passports or money before being expelled. Some were taken straight to Niger, others were held in military bases, in inhuman and degrading conditions, before being taken south.
Algeria is rebuked in several international human rights reports, including Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, 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 to applying for international protection under the 1951 Geneva Convention to which Algeria is a party.