‘They spit on us’: What’s really going on in the El Ouardia migrant centre in Tunis

© Screengrabs / Videos from our Observer

Officially, the El Ouardia migrant centre in Tunis is meant to serve as a reception centre to “welcome and orient” new arrivals to Tunisia. However, what is actually happening there has long remained opaque because NGOs and lawyers aren’t allowed access. The FRANCE 24 Observers decided to investigate the nightmarish conditions inside. Our source told us that about fifty migrants, refugees and asylum seekers, most of them Black Africans, are being arbitrarily detained in the squalid centre.

Léopold (not his real name) came from the Ivory Coast to Tunisia several years ago to attend university. When he graduated, he decided to stay and work in the country. He also got married and had a child. However, Léopold was not a legal resident of the country where he had made his home. And so, in 2021, he began sorting out his papers and regularising his situation.

However, before Léopold was able to finish the process, he was arrested alongside several other Ivorians when police raided the headquarters of the Association of active Ivoirians in Sfax (AIVAS) on August 21, 2021. He was placed in detention in Tunis.

'There is a difference between what the judicial system decides and what the border police do'

Read more on The Observers - France 24