A migration specialist at the universities of Sousse and Sfax, Hassen Boubakri, said Tunisia could ask the European Union to provide funding to ensure the care for and return of foreign migrants intercepted off the coast as part of the fight against illegal migration.
In a statement to TAP, he stressed that the number of migrants intercepted by the coast guard and navy reached 30,000 in 2022, adding that about 15,000 migrants came from sub-Saharan Africa, half of them Tunisian migrants.
The phenomenon of irregular migratory flows has led to a mixed migration of Tunisians and sub-Saharan migrants, he said, adding that our country does not have the necessary means to ensure the supervision, care and accommodation of migrants or their repatriation to their country of origin.
Boubakri said that European countries in the northern Mediterranean region, including Italy and France, are called upon to provide Tunisia with financial resources in return for the efforts made to deal with this issue.
He noted that intercepting migrants’ boats off the Tunisian coast in order to increase their return to Tunisia only worsens their situation.
European countries must assume their responsibilities and support Tunisia’s efforts within the framework of conventions related to the fight against irregular migration and illegal border crossings, he added.
The migration expert also expressed his rejection of the decision to impose a visa requirement on sub-Saharan migrants, recalling that this measure could alter the diplomatic and economic relations established between Tunisia and African Southern countries.
Source: Agence Tunis Afrique Presse (TAP)