The Algerian President’s Chief of Staff, Ahmed Ouyahia, has caused controversy by referring to migrants in the country as “sources of crime, drugs and other scourges.”

“First of all, these people came illegally,” the secretary-general of the National Rally for Democracy explained while speaking to Ennahar TV.

“Secondly, Algerian law does not allow the use of foreign labour. Today, we have Chinese workers who work under contracts with Chinese companies. But they have renewable employment contracts.”

But access to employment is not the only problem raised by Ouyahia. The director of the RND went further, accusing the migrants of causing several scourges including crime and drugs.

“It is not said to the authorities: throw these migrants into the sea or beyond the deserts. But [if you] stay in Algeria [you] must obey the rules. We will not let the Algerian people suffer from anarchy,” he added. 

And when people talk to me about human rights, I say: we are sovereign in our country.

The country has been facing a backlash against sub-Saharan migrants that have moved from the south and become more prevalent in Algeria’s coastal cities including the capital, Algiers, where locals are most vocal against their presence.

Late last month, a racist online campaign was launched against “Africans in Algeria” which received condemnation from online users as well as human rights groups.

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