United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres on Tuesday denounced the "expulsion" of African migrants from Tunisia towards the Libyan and Algerian borders, where they are stranded in the desert and some of them die, calling for their protection and urgent solutions.
Guterres' spokesman, Farhan Haq, told a news conference at UN headquarters in New York that they were concerned about the expulsion of migrants and asylum seekers from Tunisia to the border with Libya, as well as with Algeria.
A number of migrants have died at the border with Libya, and hundreds of people, including pregnant women and children, are reportedly trapped in harsh conditions and have little access to food and water.
He called for the urgent relocation of those stranded along the border to safe locations where they can be protected and have access to adequate water, food, shelter and medical care, stressing the need to respect the rights of refugees in line with international human rights law.
African migrants stranded at Tunisian-Libyan border waiting for help (Anatolia)
There was no immediate comment from Tunisian authorities on the UN spokesperson's remarks.
However, in a statement by the Ministry of Interior, last Thursday, Tunisia rejected accusations of abuse of African migrants, in response to a call by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and the International Organization for Migration to find an urgent solution for irregular migrants stranded at the Tunisian-Libyan border.
In a joint statement on Thursday, the two organizations expressed concern for the safety and health of hundreds of irregular migrants stranded in difficult conditions after being sent to Tunisia.
Tunisian President Kais Saied has previously stressed the rejection of his country as a transit or settlement ground for irregular migrants of sub-Saharan African nationalities, while stressing pride in African belonging.
Difficult humanitarian conditions
Activists on social media recently circulated videos showing the difficult humanitarian conditions experienced by irregular migrants from sub-Saharan on the Tunisian-Libyan border.
Migrants from sub-Saharan Africa arrive in Libya in the hundreds every day, after being abandoned by Tunisian security forces on the border in the middle of the desert.
The death toll among migrants on the Tunisian-Libyan border has reached at least 17 in the past three weeks, according to humanitarian organizations in Libya.