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Stockholm: Skyline International strongly denounces the "serious abuses" committed against sub-Saharan migrants in Tunisia, as revealed in a recent report by Human Rights Watch (HRW).

The HRW report, released on Wednesday, July 19, exposes harrowing accounts of human rights violations perpetrated by Tunisian security forces against sub-Saharan migrants. Over 20 testimonies collected from victims shed light on the alarming reality faced by these vulnerable individuals at the hands of police, military, and coast guard personnel.

The documented abuses are deeply troubling, including instances of brutal beatings, arbitrary arrests, and detentions, mass expulsions, hazardous actions at sea, forced evictions, and the theft of money and personal belongings. Skyline International stands firmly with HRW in condemning these actions, which are not only unlawful but also contradict the principles of human rights and humanitarian values.

Of great concern is the fact that many of these abuses occurred following President Kais Saied's speech on February 21, where he condemned illegal immigration and used inflammatory language to describe arriving migrants. Such rhetoric appears to have fueled a climate of hostility and impunity, leading to an increase in reported abuses against sub-Saharan migrants in Tunisia.

Among those interviewed by HRW, several migrants recounted enduring violence while in police custody, with some subjected to electroshocks. Others shared their anguish about being arbitrarily arrested and detained solely based on their skin color, with little or no verification of their immigration status. Numerous individuals also narrated disturbing experiences of abuse during interception and rescue operations near Sfax, where they were left stranded without motorized boats, robbed, beaten, and insulted.

Skyline International calls on the European Union (EU) to take immediate action in response to these grave human rights violations. The EU's strategic partnership with Tunisia, which recently included the provision of 105 million euros in equipment and funding for a "voluntary return" of 6,000 sub-Saharans, must be reevaluated in light of these alarming revelations. Any support offered to Tunisia in the fight against irregular immigration should be contingent on strict adherence to international human rights standards.

The protection of human rights should be paramount in all endeavors to control immigration. Skyline International urges the EU and the international community to join forces in ensuring that Tunisia, like all nations, upholds the principles of human dignity, non-discrimination, and respect for human rights.

As an independent news organization committed to promoting truth, accountability, and human rights, Skyline International will continue to monitor developments in Tunisia and other regions where press freedom and human rights are at stake.