West News Wire: According to Bloomberg, the African Union postponed a conference that was scheduled to take place in Tunisia this month in response to complaints about a government crackdown and racial attacks on citizens from sub-Saharan Africa.
The conference on combating illicit financial flows in Africa that was originally slated to take place in mid-March has been postponed, according to an African Union spokesperson who texted the news agency on Monday.
The meeting will not have a new host nation.
On February 24, the African Union urged Tunisia to “refrain from racially hate speech that could damage individuals” in a statement.
In order to express “great astonishment and concern at the form and substance” of the remarks on behalf of the entire continent, the AU Commission announced it has summoned Tunisia’s delegate for an immediate meeting.
Citizens of sub-Saharan African nations have been the targets of racial attacks after a speech by President Kais Saied blaming undocumented immigrants for a rise in violent crime.
He also claimed on February 21 that migration was a conspiracy to change Tunisia’s demographic composition. His speech was followed by dozens of arrests, drawing criticism from human rights activists.
Hundreds of people protested In Tunis to denounce Saied’s speech, accusing him of racist comments against refugees.
Ivory Coast, Mali and Guinea began carrying out repatriations of their citizens from Tunisia last week.
Tunisia has rejected responsibility for the racial violence, saying it only sought to ensure “laws of the land are respected to avoid spreading chaos”.
Tunisia is a major transit point for refugees seeking to cross the Mediterranean to Europe, including growing numbers of both Tunisians and people from other African countries.
Black Tunisians have a long history in the country and make up 10 percent to 15 percent of the population. Human rights groups have said the country has not done enough to address racism.