Tunisia reiterated its total rejection of the accusations of “racism” and expressed surprise at the campaign about alleged racism in the country, the sources of which are known,» according to a statement from the Presidency of the Republic, the Presidency of the Government, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Immigration and Tunisians Abroad. The statement released Sunday evening recalled that «Tunisia is one of the founders of the Organisation of African Unity that later became the African Union and has supported all national liberation movements in the world, not least those in Africa.» It stressed that Tunisia is an African country par excellence and «Africans are our brothers,» noting that in recent years, Tunisia has called for Africa to be for Africans. Tunisia has fought with all the means at its disposal against the crime of trafficking in human beings suffered by the African brothers, it is also emphasised. The statement also announced decisions taken by the Tunisian government to facilitate procedures for foreign residents and protect the various communities. Hence, it was decided to deliver one-year residence permits to students from sisterly African countries to facilitate their stay and enable them to renew their documents within reasonable time limits. The Tunisian government also decided to extend the residence receipt from three months to six months and facilitate voluntary departures for those who wish to do so within an organised framework and after prior coordination with the embassies and diplomatic representations of African countries in Tunisia. «The African brothers will also be exempted from the payment of late fees for expatriates who have overstayed their permits in the context of voluntary return,» it was also decided according to the statement. This is besides enhancing awareness and providing the necessary social, health and psychological assistance to all immigrants and refugees from brotherly African countries through the Tunisian Red Crescent and its various partners. It was also decided to step up vigilance campaigns aimed at deterring all forms of trafficking in human beings and limiting the phenomenon of exploitation of irregular migrants and making a hotline accessible to residents of various African countries to report any violation against them. In the same context, Tunisia expressed its «deep thanks» to all the African countries that have stepped up their efforts to protect its community residing in them and urged upholding the spirit of cooperation, synergy and brotherhood among African countries, in accordance with the traditions established by Tunisia throughout history. Tunisia was among the first countries to adopt, in 2018, a law aimed at eliminating all forms and manifestations of racial discrimination, whereby any physical or moral assault against a foreigner, regardless of his or her legal status, will be prosecuted, it was recalled in the statement. It also underscored that «the history of Tunisia, its laws and the practices of its people all bear witness to what its people have always done to extend a helping hand to those who have sought refuge there.» Tunisia’s desire to protect all immigrants is matched only by the determination to respect the country’s laws «so that chaos does not spread and to avoid any harm that could be caused to citizens or African brothers,» the statement further pointed out.
Source: Agence Tunis Afrique Presse