Tunisian irregular migrants steadily increasing on "roads to death" | Tunisia News Gazette

Tunisian irregular migrants steadily increasing on “roads to death”

Some 1,910 irregular Tunisian migrants have arrived in Italy by sea since the beginning of this year, according to official figures, Myriam Chabbi, Communication and Public Information Assistant at the International Organization for Migration (IOM) told TAP on Thursday.

The number of migrants arriving by sea in Italy from January 1 to April 30, 2018 is 1,564 men, 39 women and 307 minors including 293 unaccompanied, she pointed out.

The number of irregular Tunisian migrants is steadily increasing, Moez Ghribi, geo-politician at the Tunisian Institute of Strategic Studies (ITES) told TAP. This number has even increased during the first half of 2018, he said.

Tunisia is ranked first in 2018, before Eritrea, in terms of irregular migrant arrivals by sea in Italy, according to data from the Italian Ministry of the Interior. It was 8th in 2016-17.

To better understand the reasons that push young Tunisians, men, women and children to massively go irregularly to Europe and study this phenomenon, the Tunisian government has developed, through the ITES, a first national study on irregular migration (Al Harka, in Tunisian dialect).

This study showed that the overall number of irregular migrants arriving in Italy between 2011 and 2017 is 38,114, that of Tunisian migrants arrested before their departure, during the same period is 12,922, against 3,533 foreigners.

This study has attempted to understand the reasons for young and old people to go to sea and risk their lives to flee the country: unemployment, the feeling of injustice, and dropping out are at the top of the list.

Among the solutions proposed in this document to deal with irregular migration are the call for the creation of a common structure to fight against this phenomenon, the support of disadvantaged regions, the fight against youth unemployment, developing vocational training programmes to help young people create their own projects, and raising awareness among young people about the risks of the roads to death of illegal immigration.

3,800 migrants died in the Mediterranean in 2016, a record number, according to the UN.

An appeal was also launched through this study to the official authorities in order to set up a coordination instrument between the social structures responsible for migration. This instrument is responsible for collecting data and developing policies to combat irregular migration.

In addition, the study recommended the creation of a structure to identify the causes of migration and their treatment by putting in place concrete action programmes.

The national study on irregular migration “Al Harka”, carried out by the ITES, in coordination with the IOM, is the fruit of a conference held in October 2017. That conference brought together several actors of migration in Tunisia, including Tunisian ministries (interior, defense, education, higher education), IOM and embassies of relevant countries (Italy and Germany).

It was devoted to in-depth analysis and consideration of issues related to the migration of young Tunisians in particular.

It was structured around 4 sections aimed at defining migration as well as the main issues and challenges in order to contribute to an understanding of the phenomenon and to reinforce mechanisms for response and cooperation in the field of migration management.

This study was supported by fieldwork by conducting structured interviews with thirty young people from the rural areas of Mahdia governorate and 29 young people from the Ettadhamen and Douar Hicher neighbhourhoods (popular districts of Greater Tunis). Other methods have been used, namely direct observation and document analysis.

Since the late 1990s, migration in Tunisia has taken on new forms. Tunisia has become a country of departure, destination and transit for migrants. Many Tunisians leave Tunisia each year to try their luck elsewhere, especially in European countries such as Italy, France, Switzerland, Belgium or Germany.

Many candidates for irregular migration leave Tunisia by sea. As part of their journey, they face different risks, expose themselves to exploitation by organized criminal groups, or to death risks in the Mediterranean.

The phenomenon of irregular migration from Tunisia, affects more and more young Tunisians in all regions.

Source: TAP News Agency

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