Tunisian Ons Jabeur, world tennis star, said on Wednesday her “pride” to be an African woman and defended “the right of everyone to live in dignity”, after a speech denounced as “racist” by President Kais Saied on illegal African migrants.
“Today is Zero Discrimination Day. As a proud Tunisian, Arab, and African woman, I celebrate everyone’s right to live with dignity,” Ons Jabeur wrote on her Twitter account.
She attached to her tweet a photo of a Tunisian postal stamp issued on April 15, 1961, celebrating “Africa Day” and on which two hands, one white and the other black, intertwine.
— Ons Jabeur (@Ons_Jabeur) March 1, 2023
Tunisian President Kais Saied on February 21 called for “urgent measures” against the illegal immigration of nationals from sub-Saharan Africa, saying their presence in Tunisia was a source of “violence and crimes” and was part of a “business crime” intended to “change the demographic composition” of the country.
This speech, condemned by NGOs as “racist and hateful” caused an outcry and sowed a wind of panic among sub-Saharan migrants in Tunisia who have since reported an upsurge in attacks against them and have rushed by the dozens to their embassies. to be repatriated.
Another Tunisian sportsman, ex-international footballer Radhi Jaidi who is part of Tunisia’s black minority (10 to 15% of the population) expressed his solidarity with African migrants by tweeting this weekend: “I am African, not because I was born in Africa, but because Africa was born in me”.
According to the Tunisian Forum for Economic and Social Rights, Tunisia, a country of 12 million inhabitants, has more than 21,000 nationals from sub-Saharan African countries, the majority of whom are in an irregular situation.