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Press briefing notes Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights

Tunisia – Concern at increased targeting of migrants

17 May 2024

African irregular migrants are seen living in makeshift tents, set on a field, after their arrival in Sfax to reach Europe via Mediterranean Sea in the hope of a better life conditions, in Sfax, Tunisia on January 31, 2024. Credit: Reuters Connect


Spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights: Ravina Shamdasani



We are very concerned by the increased targeting in Tunisia of migrants, mostly from south of the Sahara, and individuals and organisations working to assist them. At the same time, we are witnessing a rise in the use of dehumanising and racist rhetoric against Black migrants and Black Tunisians.

Our Office has recorded incidents of arbitrary arrest and detention of human rights defenders, lawyers and journalists critical of the Government, as well as its migration policies.

Reported raids in the past week on the Tunisia Bar Association undermine the rule of law and violate international standards on the protection of the independence and function of lawyers. Such actions constitute forms of intimidation and harassment.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Türk urges the authorities to respect and safeguard freedoms of expression, association and peaceful assembly, as guaranteed by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights to which Tunisia is a party. Furthermore, the rule of law must be upheld, and those arbitrarily detained, including for defending the rights of migrants and for combating racial discrimination, released. The human rights of all migrants must be protected, and xenophobic hate speech must stop.

For more information and media requests, please contact:

In Geneva
Ravina Shamdasani - + 41 22 917 9169 / [email protected] 
Liz Throssell - + 41 22 917 9296 / [email protected] 
Marta Hurtado - + 41 22 917 9466 / [email protected]

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