24 May 2018

Algeria Deportations Raise Fear of Xenophobia

Algiers — THE international community is wary of a possible outbreak of xenophobia against sub-Saharan Africans after a mass expulsion of these nationals from Algeria.

Thousands, according to the United Nations (UN), have been expelled following raids carried out on construction sites in the capital Algiers and neighbourhoods known to be populated by the migrants.

Scores migrants are detained in military barracks and others confined under inhuman and degrading conditions. Some were arrested after having been stopped in the streets.

Most have reportedly not been informed of the reasons for detention, nor were they allowed to collect their belongings, passports or money before expulsion.

The UN said the campaign has struck fear into the hearts of vulnerable foreign nationals in the North African country.

"We heard testimony indicating that migrants who remain in Algeria are, understandably, very fearful," said Ravina Shamdasani, spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCR).

"There are also concerns that the campaign of expulsions would foster racism and xenophobia against sub-Saharan Africans."

UNHCR urged Algeria to implement recommendations by the Committee on Migrant Workers in April, including to prohibit collective expulsions.

The committee also called on Algeria to respect the rights of asylum seekers.

Algeria has said the exercise seeks to address illegal migration.

In March, Algeria was among several countries that refused to sign the protocol on the freedom of movement of people and right of residence attached to the African Union's African Continental Free Trade Area agreement.

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