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Algeria expels in the desert

The repression at work in Algeria, since more than a year, against foreigners is a bit higher.

The uncertain fate of 117 Syrian, Yemeni and Palestinian asylum seekers who were deported near the border with Niger on 26 December caused disquiet and indignation.

What have they become? Two weeks ago 117 people were dropped by the Algerian authorities in the desert, near In Guezzam, 400 km south of Tamanrasset, 2,300 km from Algiers and about fifteen kilometers from the "zero point", the border post between Algeria and Niger.

The alarm cry came from the Algerian League for the Defense of Human Rights (LADDH). She launched one on December 31st "Urgent appeal: dozens of Syrians returned to Niger in danger of death!". Because we know that the group of men, women and children left behind on 26 December consisted of 47 Syrians, 17 Yemenis and 53 Palestinians. All were detained at the Tamanrasset detention center, sentenced to three months in prison by a court for illegal entry into Algerian territory.

Eight days after the incident, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) got out of the way. "Given the urgency of providing humanitarian assistance to the edges", On 3 January, the UN Institute publicly asked the Algerian authorities to gain access to these people. Especially because most, if not all, had applied for asylum. Some Syrians were even registered by the UNHCR in Algiers, Lebanon and Jordan.

It was not true. UNHCR even refused media reports that it approved the frames. In an Algeria that excels in the fading of the benchmarks, the LADDH has also prevented the spread of a false statement that claims it, saying that the expulsion operation had taken place "In full respect for human rights".

For more than a year, Algeria has been carrying out massive and forced expulsions of foreigners to Niger and Mali by bus and truck to the most southern borders of the country. (see benchmarks).

"The European Union is very satisfied with the good cooperation with Niger, which has made it possible to turn migratory flows from south to north, reports Martin Wyss, head of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in Niger. But it has not taken into account the new reality of flows from North to South that pose a major logistical and humanitarian challenge. " Until now, it was only sub-Saharan nationals, whether they were migrants in transit, the many workers on the construction sites, Malians who did not need a visa to stay in Algeria, students and sometimes refugees.

"We are witnessing a real hardening of Algerian politics," emphasizes a humanitarian source that wants to remain anonymous, so as not to aggravate the situation, because the subject has become tricky. The random orientation of the country to very vulnerable people in need of international protection has caused a shock.

These people are "Jihadists" related to armed groups in Mali and Sudan and "Take advantage of false passports", justified Hassan Kacimi, director of migration at the Algerian Ministry of the Interior, January 3 at the official news agency APS. "It is not right, emphasizes an expert. If these people are dangerous, they must be arrested and judged, and not released into the wild. "

IOM regularly conducts search and rescue in the desert. But no member of the group that was abandoned on December 26 was seen on Nigerian soil near Assamakka, the first city after the border. "They do not want to go to a country where they have no connection and do not speak the language" send a different source.

A trail has been found of 27 of them, who have gone back radically. A dozen are located in Algiers, another in Nador in Morocco, 2,600 km and seven on the border of Algeria-Morocco. The other 90 have so far given no sign of life.

Marie Verdier

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