Refugees International, a US-based NGO, has called for a reassessment of the collaboration between EU states, the US, and Tunisia on migration. The organization highlights several concerning issues, including reported abuse, corruption, and collusion with smuggling networks within Tunisia’s security forces.
In its recent report, Refugees International draws attention to the urgent need for a reevaluation of the relationship between EU states, the US, and Tunisia regarding migration. The report condemns the mistreatment of migrants and asylum seekers and raises concerns over corruption and collusion between smuggling networks and elements of the Tunisian security forces.
Tunisia has become the main departure point for migrants and refugees attempting to reach Europe via the Mediterranean Sea. However, the country faces significant challenges in managing the arrival and presence of a large population of displaced people from Sub-Saharan Africa.
The struggles faced by Tunisia’s economy, democracy, and institutions in recent years have caused the country to become a launching pad for migrants undertaking the perilous journey across the Mediterranean. Tunisians, alongside migrants from other African and Asian countries, join these migration flows.
This year, alone, the Central Mediterranean witnessed the death of 2,166 migrants and asylum seekers. The report also highlights the historical trend of Tunisians engaging in migration and how this may continue due to political and economic instability in the country. Additionally, refugees, asylum seekers, and migrants from Sub-Saharan Africa increasingly use Tunisia as a transit point to Europe, driven by persistent poverty and insecurity in their home countries.
The perception that Tunisia provides a safer exit point than its neighboring countries, such as Libya and Algeria, further contributes to this migration trend. However, Tunisia’s inability to prevent Algeria from directing large numbers of migrants into the country exacerbates the situation.
Furthermore, the report points out that racist and xenophobic attacks and policies led by Tunisian officials, as well as Tunisia’s proximity to European islands, have led many Black Africans within the country to leave. The Tunisian government’s response to the migration challenge also receives criticism, as it has resorted to demagoguery and abuse under pressure from Europe to curb irregular migration. Some Tunisian security forces, which cooperate directly with EU countries and the United States, are accused of committing severe and systematic abuses.
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