African immigrants have filed a complaint with the Ministry of Interior against Turkish police who have been rounding them off from their neighborhoods and forcing them to perform labour without pay. During the recent papal visit to Turkey, Turkish police detained 53 immigrants, mostly Africans. An immigrant from DRC Congo was picked near his home and forced to work through the night. When asked why only blacks had been taken, the police said nothing. Another man from Eritrea was arrested on his way to Helsinki without cause, and forced to work.
In spite of several press inquiries into the matter, Instanbul’s police headquarters have released a statement saying that they “do not think any response to the allegations would be appropriate.” It is a pity that even after slavery was abolished; Africans have to bear its brunt. African women and men are objects of abuse under hostage conditions set by Norwegians. One man who is married to a Norwegian woman is given instructions on what to do, where to go, who to talk to and who not to talk with. One Kenyan woman who went to work in Saudi Arabia had to come back in rags after mistreatment by her master. Fury and outrage has met the British government’s announcement that there was no evidence to warrant charges against their soldiers accused of raping women in Samburu and Laikipia districts of Kenya.
Turkey’s Act brings to light many disturbing questions. If the police blatantly do not think any response to the allegations would be appropriate,” who defines the rule of law? Who should be wielding the rule of law for it to be legitimate? Are Africans second class citizens?
The Turkish act should be condemned by the papacy, the African Union and the United Nations. Meanwhile, Africans should not allow themselves to be used as lesser brings. If Africa has to develop, the role of Africans in global events must be appreciated. In this issue, strategies to reposition Africa on the global arena are examined.
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