Disturbing reports are emerging from refugee camps in North Africa as former detainees recount their experiences of torture and hunger in camps located in Libya and Tunisia.
Fleeing violence and poverty in the Sahel region, refugees often make their way to Northern Africa as a transitional stop before attempting to cross into Europe.
A report by Al Jazeera follows the story of Aisha, a former detainee from Sierra Leone, who spent months at the Abu Salim detention center in Tripoli, Libya. She vividly describes the inhumane conditions prevailing in the refugee camps.
Aisha reveals that the detention center provided very little food, consisting mainly of bread, and that it was tragically common for people to lose their lives due to the harsh living conditions.
She also shares distressing details about guards routinely subjecting women to sexual assault at the center and killing refugees attempting to escape.
Meanwhile, in Tunisia, President Kaiss Saied’s racially charged rhetoric against black refugees has sparked a surge in violence targeting black immigrants.
In February 2023, the Tunisian president accused black immigrants of causing crime and attempting to erode Tunisia’s identity.
Authorities in Tunisia faced accusations of rounding up and forcibly expelling black refugees and migrants to the borders with Libya and Algeria, leaving many stranded in the desert. Tunisia’s interior minister has denied any wrongdoing.