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Activist calls government to action over Tunisia migrant violence

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By Alagie Manneh

A Malta-based Gambian migration activist has called on the government to assist Gambian migrants currently being subjected to unmitigated violence in Tunisia.

Tunis has “expelled” hundreds of black African migrants to the militarised border with Libya a day after a Tunisian man was reportedly killed by migrants during violent clashes in the coastal city of Sfax.

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On Thursday, Human Rights Watch released a statement after hundreds of migrants from The Gambia, Senegal and other sub-Saharan countries were rounded up last week and taken to the coastal city.

According to news sources, the expulsions occurred after days of violence in the port city in which one Tunisian was killed. Locals have complained about the refugees’ behaviour while the refugees said they have been subjected to racist attacks, according to Aljazeera.

The International Organisation for Migration has said that it was able to provide some emergency medical assistance to some of the refugees and migrants.

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But Gambian activist Ebrima Drammeh, said the government must act now to save Gambian migrants in Tunisia from the dire situation.

“I am furious and appalled by the heinous acts of inhumane treatment that black people, including Gambians and other nationalities, have been subjected to in Tunisia these days,” he told The Standard yesterday. “The witch-hunts, mass beatings, the injuries and even the killings that have taken place are hateful, xenophobic and can no longer be tolerated.”

Mr Drammeh said it is unacceptable to subject innocent people to such “brutal violence simply because of their nationality”.

“This behaviour reeks of ignorance, prejudice, and utter disregard for basic human rights to which every individual is entitled,” he added.

He stated: “The time has come for our responsible governments to take immediate action to protect their citizens and provide them with an emergency exit from these unjust circumstances. I call upon the international community to condemn these acts of brutality and demand justice for the victims. Governments must step up and intervene, ensuring the safety and wellbeing of their citizens. This is not a time for empty promises or political rhetoric; we need concrete actions and urgent assistance.

“I urge our responsible governments to act swiftly and provide an emergency exit for their nationals. The world is watching, and it is time for justice to be served for black people.”  

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