French- Congolese hip hop star cancels concerts in Tunisia in protest against the country’s rights abuses of black African migrants
Well-known hip hop artist Maitre Gims has cancelled his concert in Tunisia due to the North African country’s authorities’ horrific treatment of black African migrants, according to the London based Middle East Monitor on July 23rd.
Gims, known for his hits, “J’me tire” (I’m leaving) and “Bella” was vocal in his support for the migrants on social media. An Instagram story on his account stated, “Children, women and men expelled from Tunisia to Libya live in inhuman conditions. I cannot maintain my visit to Tunisia, scheduled for August 11th. I don’t know what the solution is, but this extreme distress is unbearable”.
Gims intended to go to Tunisia on the 11th of August.
Human Rights Watch recently released a report finding that the authorities rounded up black African migrants and sent to the border with Libya and Algeria.
The NGO interviewed multiple victims and found that the migrants had been brutally attacked, had their possessions stolen, and in some cases been tortured by Tunisia’s police and military.
Earlier this year, Tunisia’s President, Kais Saied claimed that that immigration was a plot aimed at changing the country’s demography and ordered security forces to take action against the “hordes” of undocumented migrants.
Following his comments, anti-immigration sentiment in the country has been on the rise and attacks against migrants have worsened in Tunisia and at the border.
In July, the European Union announced its plans to sign a Memorandum of Understanding with Tunisia which would result in the country receiving $100 million in exchange for intercepting migrant boats heading for Europe, although a bigger aid package of around 1m euros was also offered to help the country’s infrastructure.
The deal raised concerns with human rights groups who said that the EU should suspend migration control funding until a human rights impact assessment has been completed.