Algeria denies targeting sub-Saharan migrants for expulsions

Thursday May 24 2018

African asylum seekers protest in Tel Aviv against detention of illegal immigrants. PHOTO | AFP

African asylum seekers protest in Tel Aviv, Israel, on January 7, 2014. Algeria reacted angrily on May 24, 2018 after NGOs accused the North African country of arresting sub-Saharan migrants en masse and forcefully deporting them. FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

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By AFP
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Algeria blasted rights groups on Thursday for leading a "malicious campaign" against it, after NGOs accused the North African country of arresting sub-Saharan migrants en masse and forcefully deporting them.

Algerian rights groups, activists and civil society members launched an advocacy push in mid-May entitled "We are all migrants!".

Campaigners accused the state of being behind a "campaign of arbitrary arrests, followed by mass and collective expulsions" without due process.

Malicious campaign

Algeria's Foreign ministry lashed out at the push, calling it "a malicious campaign... that wrongly accuses (the government) of failing to meet its international obligations" regarding migrants.

"Algeria strongly rejects these serious accusations that aim... to undermine its image and its relations with its neighbours in the south," the ministry said.

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It added authorities deport "illegal migrants" with "full respect for human dignity and rights" and in close consultation with their home countries.

Deeply alarming

For several months, rights groups have denounced the mass arrests of sub-Saharan migrants in Algeria, who are later "abandoned" in desert areas along the border with Niger or Mali, according to an October report by Amnesty International.

On Tuesday, the UN's human rights arm called on Algeria "to cease collective expulsions of migrants particularly from sub-Saharan Africa".

The mass expulsion of thousands of migrants, "without individual review (of their case) or due process, is deeply alarming and not in line with Algeria's obligations under international human rights law", it said.

Rights groups estimate nearly 100,000 sub-Saharan migrants have entered Algeria in recent years.

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