AU postpones sine die conference slated in Tunisia against backdrop of mistreatment of Sub-Sahara migrants
The African Union (AU) has postponed sine die the “Pan African Network Conference on Fighting IFFs in Africa”, a continental conference initially scheduled in the Tunisian capital, Tunis, on March 15 to 17.
The AU did not provide reasons for the postponement, but the move comes amid soar relations between Tunisian authorities and Addis Ababa over the North African country’s treatment of African migrants.
Tunisia has stepped up crackdown on illegal migrants from Sub-Sahara as it accuses a third party, it stopped short of naming, for sending Sub-Saharan migrants in view of modifying Tunisia’s demography.
The comments stirred condemnation at home and abroad with critics branding the remarks as racist.
As African migrants are swept up in a widening crackdown, critics say President Kais Saied is openly mining a deep vein of discrimination and prejudice against dark-skinned people in his country.
The AU Friday last week said it called Tunisia’s representative for an urgent meeting to register “deep shock and concern at the form and substance” of the Tunisian President’s remarks on behalf of the continent-wide bloc.
“The Chairperson of the African Union Commission Moussa Faki Mahamat strongly condemns the shocking statement issued by Tunisian authorities targeting fellow Africans which go against the letter and the spirit of our organization and founding principles,” read the statement issued by the AU Commission last Friday.
Faki said AU member states were obligated “to treat all migrants with dignity, wherever they come from, refrain from racialized hate speech that could bring people to harm and prioritize their safety and human rights.”
Considering the crackdown, some Sub Saharan countries namely Côte d’Ivoire and Guinea have begun repatriating their nationals willing to return home. Tunisia’s top diplomat Nabil Ammar Tuesday said the North African country will not apologize for its shocking statements.