While Morocco’s treatment of migrants came under fire recently for the deaths of 37 during a storming of an EU border, Algeria’s is equally polemic but for different reasons.
The Algerians prefer simply to resolve their African migrant crisis by dumping them in the desert, returning them to sub saharan Africa.
Thousands of migrants from Sub-Saharan Africa have been deported by Algeria to the desert of northern Niger, the medical humanitarian charity Doctors without Borders (MSF) claimed on March 16th.
MSF said that between January 11 and March 3, at least 4,677 migrants to Assamaka ― a town in northern Niger’s Agadez region ― arrived on foot after being deported from Algeria and stranded in the desert. Fewer than 15 per cent of them were able to access shelter or protection when they arrived, the agency claimed. According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Niger is currently home to a million refugees and asylum seekers, 700,000 of whom have been forcibly displaced either internally, or from other nearby countries as of February 2023.
Many refugees currently in Libya, which is reported to be holding between 400 and 700,000 of them, come from Niger, although the exact numbers are unclear.
MSF called on the international community and the Economic Community of West African states (Ecowas) to “urgently provide protection” for the people stranded in the desert.
“Today, the health centre that we support in Assamaka is overflowing. The majority of people who have recently arrived in Assamaka have settled in the IHC compound, due to a lack of space in the transit centre,” Doctors Without Borders said in its press release.