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Human Rights Watch asks for the suspension of the EB-Tunisia agreement

  • On the basis of 22 testimonies, the NGO Human Rights Watch has published a report containing abuses by the Tunisian police against immigrants. In view of the situation, ask the European Union about the suspension of the immigration policy agreement signed on 16 July with Tunisia.
Etorkin batzuk, Tunisiara heldu nahian. Argazkia: Anadolu Ajans?

21 July 2023 - 08:30
Last updated: 10:46

"Arbitrary arrests", "beatings", "torture cases", "collective expulsions", "theft of money and personal property"…, the NGO Human Rights Watch has gathered hard testimonies. These are all those carried out to migrants by the Tunisian police or by passersby. In addition to the violation of human rights, the report contains harsh cases of racism and discrimination.

Examples include the detention of hundreds of migrants between 2 and 5 July: "Nearly 1,200 people were expelled or violently displaced by the national guard and the army, without respecting the legal procedures, divided into several groups, at the borders of Libya and Algeria." Tunisia, an unsafe place for migrants and refugees in sub-Saharan Africa, is a cruel place where the contempt, violence and injustices suffered in this illegal raid are reported.

Most excesses have occurred since February, although the period studied is between 2015 and 2023. In February, President Kais Saied tightened up immigration policy, making migrants more resentful in society. The UN also considered "racist" the discourse then disseminated by Saied. Human Rights Watch sent the report to the Government of Tunisia on 28 June, but has not yet received a reply

Request to Europe: suspension of the agreement

The agreement on migration between Tunisia and the European Union was signed on 16 July. Despite the fact that the money was not fully clarified, the European Union would contribute EUR 150 million to the country of North Africa to establish stricter border controls and to control the "irregular migration" of those travelling to Europe. The European Union is removing its immigration policy, regardless of whether human rights are not respected. We had the case of Libya and now the case of Tunisia is added.

"The European Union has become responsible for the suffering of migrants, refugees and asylum seekers in Tunisia with the money of the security force that channels abuses in immigration
controls" Human Rights Watch

Human Rights Watch asks the EU to suspend this agreement until the human rights consequences of Tunisia’s migration policy are clarified. "With the money from the security force channelling abuses in immigration controls, the European Union has become responsible for the suffering of migrants, refugees and asylum seekers in Tunisia," says Lauren Seiber.

Cooperation between the two countries to limit migration is not new. Over the past seven years, the EU has allocated EUR 93-178 million to Tunisia. Although the anti-migration stance has hardened and the situation of immigrants has worsened since February, European states have not changed their relationship with Tunisia at all. In the report it can be read that since the speech by Kais Saied about a dozen European state representatives have approached to speak of economy, migration or security.

In recent times, Tunisia has become the main access to Europe: of the 69,599 people who arrived in Italy this year, 37,720 left Tunisia (28,558 from Libya and the rest from Turkey or Algeria).


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