“Mind-boggling! NGOs demand UE to end cooperation with Tunisia over migration”

"mind-boggling! Ngos Demand Ue To End Cooperation With Tunisia Over Migration"

Dozens of NGOs, including Lawyers Without Borders, the Tunisian League of Human Rights, and Open Arms, have jointly signed a scathing communiqué in which they consider Tunisia to be a dangerous country for migrants and refugees who are rescued at sea. The communiqué reads like a damning indictment.

Reporter stationed at Tunis, Amira Souilem

The rescued individuals in the Mediterranean Sea should not be sent back to Tunisia. This is the conviction of these NGOs who sign a text that indicts Tunis. Physical and moral violence, deprivation of food or shelter, and arbitrary detentions – the daily life of African diaspora members in Tunisia, which was already very difficult, has further deteriorated since the Tunisian presidency’s statement in February last year, which mentioned the presence of “hordes” of migrants on national soil, who could alter Tunisia’s supposed Arab-Muslim identity.

The signatory NGOs are thus asking the European Union to stop its collaboration with Tunisia in this area. In other words, stop providing subsidies to Tunis to stem the flow of departures. According to the signatory associations, Tunis has received €37 million from Europeans between 2016 and 2020. A situation that can no longer be tolerated given the authoritarian turn taken by the country, according to these NGOs.

This text was published as departures to Europe explode from the Tunisian coast these days. The Tunisian coastguard says it intercepted five times more vessels during the first quarter of 2023 compared to that of 2022.

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