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Sunday, October 24, 2021

Protecting African migrants

Migrants caught in Holot, an Israeli border town have been complaining over the unjust detentions and torture they face at the hands of members of the Israeli Defence Force. Other places, particularly Europe are no exception, especially with the influx of illegal immigrants who use the infamous ‘back way’ to get to Italy and Spain. Africans caught in these situations are continually in agitation over the breach of their fundamental rights. 


The irony that readily presents itself with this case goes no less than the fact that Western civilisation has been built on the fundaments of human rights and democracy, which guarantee the right of each and every human being. All human beings, according to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, are equal. Therefore Africans who leave their homes in search of greener pastures and better economic means should be accorded every right as to the pursuance of their dreams. But sadly this is hardly the case now with the many young men and women on the shores of Europe, who are driven to either prostitution or drug selling to sustain themselves.


But the West is not the only guilty party. Israel aside, many countries in the mainly Muslim Middle East treat African migrants with equal hostility. The human rights group, Human Rights Watch in a report, revealed the horrendous abuses that migrants are facing in the Middle Eastern country.  


The report stated: “One migrant described watching another’s eyes being gauged out with a bottle, while another said traffickers would pour melted plastic on migrants’ skin. Health workers said they frequently see migrants who have had their fingernails ripped off, their ears burnt, their skin branded with irons, and their bones broken. Migrants also described being hung from their thumbs and beaten. A migrant reported watching traffickers tie a man’s penis with a string and beat him with a stick until he died, while another said two men in his groups were hacked to death with an axe.” 


The International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families (CMW) which is the main instrument of the United Nations for the protection and promotion of the rights of migrants the world over, has to be enforced and respected by all countries. The issue of discrimination and xenophobia has been addressed in the various instruments that are at the core of the human rights movement and should be upheld. 


African people have suffered greatly when it comes to migration. Their most basic rights are continuously trampled upon without regard. African leaders and the African Union should champion the cause of Africans wherever they might be.


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