ALGERIA under fire for “hateful” and “racist” campaign against sub-Saharan African Muslim migrants and refugees

The Algerian President’s Chief of Staff, Ahmed Ouyahia, has caused controversy by referring to Muslim migrants in the country as “sources of crime, drugs and other scourges.” The word Abid in the Middle East and North Africa is an Arabic term for slave, often used as a racial slur against black Africans and is associated with the Arab slave trade.

Middle East Monitor  “First of all, these people came illegally,” the secretary-general of the National Rally for Democracy explained. But [if you] stay in Algeria [you] must obey the rules. We will not let the Algerian people suffer from anarchy,” Ouyahia added.  And when people talk to me about human rights, I say: we are sovereign in our country.

According to Morocco Word News, the deportations were for the “better” as the immigrants had allegedly been “committing assaults in various regions of the country.” “The authorities have noticed in Algiers, acts of vandalism and physical assaults unacceptable and inexcusable against volunteers from the Red Crescent of Algeria,” the statement read.

The country has been facing a backlash against sub-Saharan Muslim migrants that have moved from the south and become more prevalent in Algeria’s coastal cities including the capital, Algiers, where locals are most vocal against their presence.

Late last month, a racist online campaign was launched against “Africans in Algeria” which received condemnation from online users as well as human rights groups.

Amnesty International Algeria has condemned the “hateful” and “racist” campaign against sub-Saharan nationals and refugees that has circulated on social media this week following International World Refugee Day on 20 June. Director of Amnesty International Algeria, Hassina Oussedik, expressed regret that “some people have chosen International Refugee Day to lead a racist campaign against sub-Saharan migrants.”

“We have noticed that some people chose that day to lead a racist and shocking campaign against Sub-Saharans, Africans and people of colour,” Oussedik explained before denouncing the calls for violence relayed on social networks. Yesterday, the hashtag  “No to Africans in Algeria was widely shared on Twitter where some users called for the “clean up [of] cities in Algeria.

Oussedik criticised the “racist remarks and calls for violence” circulating online and called on authorities to take necessary measures by applying laws that condemn violence and racism.

“We must react and show that the people who make these remarks do not reflect the whole of Algerian society. We are an African country. We have compatriots who have a darker skin colour. It is important that we work on tolerance and acceptance of our differences.” This campaign is a shocking, scandalous event that does not honour Algeria or the Algerians and we cannot remain silent.

Users also took to social media to blast the hashtag and the racism of certain users.

This hashtag is disgusting. Are we not African ourselves? I’m actually sickened by my own people.— nadz (@UmmZlabiya_) June 20, 2017

Amnesty International has also urged the Algerian government to repeal certain sections of the Aliens Act, including those criminalizing the irregular entry, stay and exit of Algerian territory.