By Amy Mek. Article originally published at RAIR Foundation USA.
President Kais Saied’s words and actions make an impact as droves of sub-Saharan Africans in Tunisia are now heading for the exit.
Tunisian President Kais Saied claims that migration from sub-Saharan Africa was a “criminal” plot aimed at changing his country’s demographic makeup. His comments came during a meeting of the National Security Council on Tuesday following the arrests of dozens of migrants this month in a crackdown.
Saied urged his national security council on Tuesday to take “urgent measures” to tackle illegal sub-Saharan Africans to his country, saying that their presence was a source of “violence and crimes.”
‘Irregular migrants must quickly be ended’
During the meeting Kais Saied spoke openly about the arrival of “hordes of illegal migrants” whose presence in Tunisia is, according to him, a source of ” violence, crimes and unacceptable acts,” insisting on “the need to quickly put an end to this illegal immigration.
He further argued that this illegal immigration was part of a “criminal enterprise hatched at the dawn of this century to change the demographic composition of Tunisia.”
“The undeclared goal of the successive waves of illegal immigration is to turn Tunisia into an “African only” country that has no affiliation to Arab and Islamic nations,” he said. Saied added that the influx of irregular migrants must quickly be ended.
The President also stated that unnamed parties had, over the past decade, settled African migrants in Tunisia in return for money. He considered that “those who are behind this phenomenon are traffickers of human beings who claim at the same time to defend human rights”.
Tunisia is a major transit point for migrants and refugees seeking to cross the Mediterranean to Europe, including growing numbers of both Tunisians and people from other African countries.
Saied’s comments were praised by Former French Presidential candidate Eric Zemmour. President Saied’s comments echo those of Zemmour’s who has invoked the theory of the Great replacement, a term to describe purposeful rapid demographic change, coined by French writer Renaud Camus.
Tunisian open border groups have accused Saied of hate speech. However, the president said those accusing him of racism “want division and discord and seek to damage our relations with our brothers.” Saied said he was not racist and that migrants living in Tunisia legally had nothing to fear.
The African Union (AU) has since criticized Tunisia and urged it to avoid so-called “racialized hate speech” following his comments. In addition, they reminded Tunisia of its obligation within the 55-member bloc.
The Chairperson of the African Union Commission, H. E. Moussa Faki Mahamat, 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.”
— African Union (@_AfricanUnion) February 25, 2023
Anyone aiding and abetting illegals will be arrested
On Friday, February 24, the country’s National Guard spokesperson Houssemeddine Jebabli warned that Tunisians who harbor or employ illegal migrants will be arrested. He pointed out that illegal migration is directly related to the rising crime rate in the country.
It seems that President Kais Saied’s words and actions are making an impact as droves of sub-Saharan Africans in Tunisia are now heading for the exit.