Tunisia and the European Refugees Crisis

Tunisia and the European Refugees Crisis 

Since 2011, thousands of migrants and refugees have sailed from the Tunisian shores to reach Europe. Tunisians authorities are now under pressure from Italy and Germany to take back those refugees and migrants that are from, or transited through Tunisia. It seems that there are attempts in Europe to relocate in Tunisia those “irregular migrants” Europe wants to get rid of. But Tunisian authorities rejected these demands.Tunisia, a country of 11 millions people is already hosting thousands of Libyan refugees on its soil, and is experiencing a dire economic crisis with unbearably high unemployment rates, and is devoid of the adequate capacity to accommodate such a number of persons in need of international protection.

Yet, Europe is threatening to cut foreign aid to countries that don’t cooperate in accepting back deportees, including Tunisia.

On February 21, 2017, several local and international NGOs have denounced in a communiqué “this horrendous attack on the Right of Asylum”, demanding that “the pressure against Tunisia ceases, in favor of a genuine commitment by the European Union and its Member States to the treatment of refugees and migrants on their territory according to the principles of the Right of Asylum, and to continue to support Tunisia in consolidating the rule of law and in its fight against terrorism.” (Tunisia depends on European aid to deal with these and other post-revolution challenges it is facing.)