World Bank Curbs Tunisia Program Amid Reports of Racist Violence

World Bank Curbs Tunisia Program Amid Reports of Racist Violence (News Central TV)

According to World Bank President David Malpass, future collaboration with Tunisia has been put on hold after remarks made by the country’s president regarding immigrants from African nations resulted in racial harassment and violence.

Malpass announced that the bank had postponed the board meeting scheduled for March 21 in order to assess Tunisia’s Country Partnership Plan, which outlined future initiatives from 2023 to 2025. He indicated that the ongoing effort was continuing.

The Tunisian government’s announcement of measures to safeguard and support migrants and refugees, he said, was a promising move. The World Bank, however, was very concerned about the situation and would be keeping an eye on their results.

“The safety and inclusion of migrants and minorities is part of our institution’s core values of inclusion, respect, and anti-racism in all shapes and forms,” Malpass wrote. “Public commentary that stokes discrimination, aggression, and racist violence is completely unacceptable.”

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Ten days after pledging a crackdown on migration in rhetoric the African Union criticised as “racialised hate speech,” Tunisian President Kais Saied blasted racism on Sunday and warned of potential legal repercussions for those who harm migrants.

Kais Saied

In a post on Facebook on February 21, Saied advocated for the detention and deportation of immigrants and described migration as a plot to alter Tunisia’s demography by turning it into “just an African country” without ties to the Arab or Islamic worlds.

According to the Tunisian Forum for Economic and Social Rights, as a result, police imprisoned hundreds of migrants, landlords forcibly evicted hundreds from their houses, and hundreds more lost their jobs.

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Malpass said Tunisia has “long-standing traditions of openness and tolerance” and the bank would remain fully engaged in the country and working to help create better lives for all people, whether citizens, residents or immigrants.

He claimed that the bank was making efforts to safeguard the security of all of its Tunisian employees, especially Africans, including by stepping up security.

The safety precautions could hinder the implementation of World Bank projects, but “worker safety will supersede program-related concerns,” Malpass said.

Although the government seeks a bailout from the International Monetary Fund for its public finances, the World Bank has been a significant donor to Tunisia, allowing it to finance food imports and corporate expansion.

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On Monday, Saied released a video in which he urged Interior Minister Taoufic Charfeddine to defend freedoms and rights. The foreign ministry also convened a press conference to once more deny claims that racism is pervasive in Tunisia.

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