Tunisian Ons Jabeur, world tennis star, said on Wednesday her "pride" to be an African woman and defended "the right of everyone to live in dignity", after a speech denounced as "racist" by President Kais Saied on illegal African migrants.
"Today is Zero Discrimination Day. As a proud Tunisian, Arab, and African woman, I celebrate everyone's right to live with dignity," Ons Jabeur wrote on her Twitter account.
She attached to her tweet a photo of a Tunisian postal stamp issued on April 15, 1961, celebrating "Africa Day" and on which two hands, one white and the other black, intertwine.
Tunisian President Kais Saied on February 21 called for "urgent measures" against the illegal immigration of nationals from sub-Saharan Africa, saying their presence in Tunisia was a source of "violence and crimes" and was part of a "business crime" intended to "change the demographic composition" of the country.
This speech, condemned by NGOs as "racist and hateful" caused an outcry and sowed a wind of panic among sub-Saharan migrants in Tunisia who have since reported an upsurge in attacks against them and have rushed by the dozens to their embassies. to be repatriated.
Another Tunisian sportsman, ex-international footballer Radhi Jaidi who is part of Tunisia's black minority (10 to 15% of the population) expressed his solidarity with African migrants by tweeting this weekend: "I am African, not because I was born in Africa, but because Africa was born in me".
According to the Tunisian Forum for Economic and Social Rights, Tunisia, a country of 12 million inhabitants, has more than 21,000 nationals from sub-Saharan African countries, the majority of whom are in an irregular situation.