Stranded in the middle of the desert
At least five hundred migrants, refugees, and asylum seekers are expelled from Algeria to Niger every week, on average. More than 25,000 people were sent from Algeria to Niger in 2018, including in official convoys, according to the European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE). The trend is continuing, with more than 23,800 people expelled from January to October 2019—half of them forcibly—according to the International Organization of Migration (IOM).
They are usually picked up off the streets in Algeria, and sent to detention centers without minimum standards for living conditions or judicial guarantees or protections. They are later dropped at “Point Zero,” from which they must walk around 15 kilometers [about nine miles] to reach the village of Assamaka, in Niger.
“They just picked me up in the street; I had only the clothes on my back,” said Sandrine, a 32-year-old woman from Cameroon who was expelled from Algeria to Niger last July. “I spent five days in prison. They do not care; they do not want to know your condition. They put us in trucks carrying sand. We slept there. They threw food to us in the back, without knowing if there were babies in the truck or if there were pregnant women. And then they throw you out into the desert. You walk and walk, more than 20 kilometres [about 12 miles]. That's really not easy when you are seven months pregnant. I really went through hell.”