No to deportations from Algeria to Niger!
No to the criminalization of migration and the closure of borders and migration routes in Niger!
Your Excellency Ambassador Souleymane Issakou,
the Afrique Europe Interact network and Alarme Phone Sahara are addressing you because of an urgent situation that migrant communities are experiencing between Algeria and Niger:
Niger, a state subject to EU outsourcing policies
Located in the heart of the African continent, Niger is considered to be the transit country par excellence for candidates for migration to Europe. In this sense, it is one of the countries targeted by European states to implement migration control structures. Niger situates its migration policy in a general international and national context marked by several issues related to security, migration and the development of border areas.
In addition to hosting UNHCR refugee camps in Agadez and Hamdallaye near the capital Niamey, Niger is notable for the adoption and implementation of a key instrument for the criminalisation of migration, "law 036-2015". Based on this law, many people accused of working with or transporting migrants have already been put in prison and their vehicles have been confiscated. This policy of criminalisation has made migration routes even more dangerous, because drivers take remote routes, far from official roads where the risk of getting lost or never being found in case of accidents is high.
On 21st of March 2021, 601 migrants from several sub-Saharan African countries, including 10 women and two girls, were deported and left in the border area between Algeria and Niger in the middle of the desert and forced to walk 15 kilometres across the desert to the border post of Assamaka. This is routine for people deported in so-called "unofficial" convoys from Algeria. The concepts of "official convoy" and "unofficial convoy" are different from the point of view of a deportation agreement between Nigerien and Algerian authorities regarding Nigerien migrants.
On 23rd of March 2021, another convoy from Algeria arrived with people forcibly deported. This time, most of the migrants were Nigeriens, including 917 men, 66 women, 94 minor boys and 87 minor girls. In addition, there were other migrants from sub-Saharan Africa: 23 people from Chad, 9 from Benin, 5 from Nigeria, 3 from Burkina Faso, 3 from Mali, 2 from Togo, one from Ghana and one from Liberia. The high number of minors among the deportees is alarming.
On 10th of May, another convoy arrived with 1218 people, among them 61 unaccompanied children, most of them children from the Zinder region aged between 10 and 11, many of whom showed signs of abuse. Once again, the practice of separating minor children from their families and relatives and deporting them under violent and abusive conditions shows the disregard of children's rights by the Algerian security forces.
This attitude of requesting deportations extends to coastal countries with the mass return of Nigerien migrants from Ghana and Côte d'Ivoire observed in April 2021.
Despite protests from civil society, the deportations have not been halted. This clearly shows the intransigence of the Algerian authorities in the face of this practice, which dehumanises human integrity because it is contrary to international principles of human rights protection.
In view of the above, Afrique Europe Interact and Alarme Phone Sahara demand:
1) An immediate halt to the deportations and pushbacks of refugees and migrants from Algeria to Niger!
2) The cancellation of the deportation agreement between Algeria and Niger!
3) The commitment of the state of Niger to defend its citizens who suffer persecution, human rights violations and deportations in Algeria!
4) The suspension of law 036-2015 and the end of the criminalisation of migration!
5) The protection of the lives of people on migration routes in Niger! No measures that put migrants in danger!
6) Respect for the human rights and freedom of movement of all migrants and refugees on Niger's soil!
7) Niger must stop collaborating with the policies of outsourcing European borders on African soil!
In the spirit of fighting for a world that respects human rights in their fullness, we salute you.
Afrique Europe Interact
Alarme Phone Sahara
made in Agadez / Berlin, 21st of May 2021
For more information:
Report on "African Arguments" quoting figures from Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF):
Website of Alarme Phone Sahara: