Tunisia: French Rap Star Cancels Tunisia Concert in Support of Evicted Migrants

French rapper Maître Gims has announced the cancellation of an upcoming concert in Djerba, Tunisia, to protest against the treatment of black African migrants stranded near the border areas with Algeria and Libya.

“Children, women, men, expelled from Tunisia to Libya, live in inhuman conditions,” the rapper wrote on his Instagram account on Sunday.

“I cannot maintain my visit to Tunisia, scheduled for August 11,” he added. “I don’t know what the solutions are. But this extreme distress is unbearable.”

Tunisia has become a major gateway for irregular migrants and asylum-seekers attempting the perilous sea voyages in often rickety boats in the hopes of a better life in Europe.

The distance between Tunisia’s port city of Sfax and Italy’s Lampedusa island is only about 130 kilometres.

In early July, racial tensions flared following the death of a Tunisian man in a clash between locals and migrants in Sfax.

As a result, hundreds of migrants from sub-Saharan African countries were evicted.

The NGO Human Rights Watch said up to 1,200 Africans were “expelled or forcibly transferred” to remote desert areas.

Stuck in the desert

Libyan border guards told French news agency AFP that, over the past two weeks, they have rescued hundreds of migrants who said they were left by Tunisian authorities in the border region near Al-Assah, about 150 kilometres west of Tripoli.