Tunisia deports hundreds of African migrants to Libyan border region amid international condemnation

Jul 5, 2023 | International actors

On 5 July, Tunisia forcibly deported several hundred black Africans to the Libyan border after violent riots involving migrants in Sfax (in which one Tunisian was killed). Subsequently, several international human rights organizations, including Human Rights Watch (HRW), have protested the deportation of migrants from Tunisia to Libya.

According to HRW, between 2 and 6 July Tunisian security forces violently deported up to 700 black Africans – including children and pregnant women – to Libya. People interviewed by the rights watchdog said they had been arrested in raids by police, national guard, or military in and near the Tunisian port city of Sfax, before being forcibly transported to the Libyan border, where they became stranded and could neither enter Libya nor return to Tunisia. HRW refugee and migrant rights researcher Lauren Seibert described the abuse as ‘unconscionable’, urging the Tunisian government to ‘halt collective expulsions and urgently enable humanitarian access to the African migrants and asylum seekers already expelled to a dangerous area at the Tunisia-Libya border, with little food and no medical assistance’.