Tunisia arrests prominent leader of migrants’ rights NGO

Tunisia arrests prominent leader of migrants’ rights NGO
Photo: Makeshift migrant camp outside headquarters of International Organization for Migration in Tunis, March 2, 2023 / Source: Shutterstock

Saadia Moshah, a migrants’ rights activist and leader of an NGO was arrested in Tunisia on Tuesday on money laundering charges, according to Tunisian media. Her detainment came hours after President Kais Saied accused those who support migrants of being “traitors”, according to The New Arab. 

Tunisia has been grappling with growing numbers of Sub-Saharan migrants seeking to travel by boat to Europe. Encampments have popped up in many parts of the country prompting some Tunisians to protest their arrival and push for their deportation. 

"This situation cannot continue and Tunisia will not be a land for the settlement of migrants," Saied said in a meeting of the National Security Council on Monday.

Saied has been accused of adopting an increasingly heavy-handed approach to the crisis. 

Human rights groups reported last week that hundreds of sub-Saharan migrants were evacuated from encampments in Tunis and relocated to the Algerian border. Last year, large numbers of migrants were reportedly bussed to the desert where they were abandoned without water and food.  

Rights groups claim Saied has ignored escalating violence against migrants, a trend that has intensified since his contentious speech last year, wherein he accused migrants of being part of a conspiracy to alter Tunisia's demographics.

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