“I Am A Proud African” – Tunisian President to ECOWAS Chairman

Tunisia’s president hosted Guinea-counterpart Bissau’s on Wednesday (Mar. 8).

The Ecowas chairman’s visit to Tunis coincided with racial attacks on sub-Saharan migrants in the north African country.

President Kaies Saied connected unauthorized immigrants to violence and crime before a national security council last month.

From the Carthage palace, he denied racism and vowed to follow the law.

“There is the Tunisian state, the sovereign Tunisian legality concerning the status of foreigners, even though they are our brothers; they may not have Tunisian nationality, but they are our brothers. I believe that any country wouldn’t accept parallel jurisdictions to the state’s jurisdictions.”

Rights organisations have  documented an increase in vigilante violence including stabbings of black Africans, after the President’s original comments while migrants allege they have been taken out of their residences en masse and handed over to “mob justice”.

Earlier this week, Tunisian officials announced plans to “better the situation of foreigners in Tunisia and simplify procedures” for individuals trying to make amends.

President Cissoko Emballo supported the theory of a misreading of Saied’s speech.

“I wouldn’t believe that you, the president of Tunisia, the country of Bourguiba, could be xenophobic or racist. You yourself are African.

– Kais Saied: I am indeed, and a proud African.”

On February 25, the African Union released a statement encouraging all member nations to “treat all migrants with dignity, wherever they come from” and to “refrain from racialized hate speech that could damage individuals.”

Tunisia’s Foreign Ministry criticized the statement, saying it contained “baseless phrases and accusations” and was based on a “misunderstanding of Tunisian authorities’ positions.”

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