Men deported from Algeria queuing after their arrival to Bamako, October 25, 2017. Photo Credit: Bukary Dao/Le Républicain

Algeria: Surge in Deportations of Migrants

Human Rights Watch
30 October, 2017

One should certainly link this increase in summary expulsions from Algeria to European policies aiming at creating “capacity building” in Africa for hardening borders and stopping migrant movements, all supported with “development” funds and without ensuring much serious oversight or instituting effective accountability mechanisms. The language used, linking migration, drugs, crime and “chaos”, is very familiar indeed. On top of being a violation of the non-refoulement principle, such a policy runs contrary to the objective of many regional bodies in Africa which are trying to allow for freer movement for Africans across African borders, in order to boost regional economic and social development. One should be worried.

Algerian authorities have been rounding up sub-Saharan Africans in and around Algiers and have deported more than 3,000 to Niger since August 25, 2017, without giving them an opportunity to challenge their expulsion, Human Rights Watch said today. Those expelled include migrants who have lived and worked for years in Algeria, pregnant women, families with newborn babies, and about 25 unaccompanied children.

“Nothing justifies rounding up people based on their skin color, and then deporting them en masse,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East and North Africa director at Human Rights Watch. “A country’s power to control its borders is not a license to treat people like criminals or to assume they have no right to be there because of their race or ethnicity.”

Trusted sources in Algiers told Human Rights Watch that those detained initially included 15 refugees and asylum seekers. All were later released after the authorities ascertained their status.”

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