Tunisia and the EU have been warned about their migration policies, particularly regarding sub-Sahara Africans.
NAD Africa News has highlighted the tragic situation in Tunisia. According to the Tunisian interior minister, between January 1 and July 20, 2023, 901 dead were retrieved from the Mediterranean Sea; more than 34,000 people were rescued in several operations. The majority of boats depart from the southern town of Sfax, with Europe as their destination. The far-right Italian government, keen to stem the flow of migrants, said over 80,000 people had arrived in Italy this year, mainly from Tunisia and Libya. The IOM (Organization for Migration) named the Mediterranean the most dangerous migration route globally, with more than 20,000 deaths since 2014.
Thirty bodies could not be recovered when boat people had been thrown into the sea after they had sailed from Tunisia. Allegedly, the Tunisian police, the military, and the Coast Guard committed severe abuses against black sub-Sahara migrants, refugees, and asylum seekers. According to human rights activists, Tunisia is unsafe for migrants.
Human Rights Watch called for reforms to respect human rights and end racial discrimination. At the same time, the EU should “suspend migration control funding for security forces, establish human rights, and set benchmarks for further support.”
The EU provided at least €93-178 million in migration-related funds to Tunisia between 2015 and 2022 for the security forces to enable these to prevent irregular migration and stop boats bound for Europe.
Human rights activists criticized Tunisia’s President Kais Saied’s speech in February for saying that the immigration of sub-Saharan Africans would change Tunisia’s demographic composition. The abuse had followed his words.