EU-Tunisia migration deal amid rights abuses

Amnesty International condemned a new migration agreement between the European Union and Tunisia on July 17, saying it makes the EU "complicit in the suffering that will inevitably result" from what represents a "dangerous expansion" of failed policies. The deal, signed the previous day, commits the EU to providing financial support to Tunisia to deter Europe-bound migration. The EU is to provide €105 million (around $120 million) in aid to combat irregular immigration, contingent on approval by the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

The deal was signed days after Tunisian authorities forcibly deported hundreds of Black African migrants across the Libyan border. The UN condemned the Tunisian government's actions as "cruel and inhuman treatment."

EU Home Affairs Commissioner Ylva Johansson defended the agreement in the European Parliament when faced with criticism from some lawmakers. She stated the agreement is crucial to "stop this deadly business of sending people not only to Europe but to death."

Tunisia is a key departure point for thousands of migrants crossing from North Africa into Europe. According to the International Organization of Migration, migrants mainly come from the Maghreb and sub-Saharan Africa, with the aim of reaching Europe from the Tunisian coasts. Frontex, the European border agency, has described the Central Mediterranean route as that most used by refugees to reach the EU. In the first six months of this year, there have been 66,000 detections of migrants crossing via this route.

From Jurist, July 18. Used with permission.

Tunisia's summer of migration infamy continues

At least 41 people have died in the latest shipwreck in the central Mediterranean Sea. The boat left from the city of Sfax in Tunisia on Aug. 3, according to four rescued survivors who were from Côte d'Ivoire and Guinea. At least 30 more went missing in other shipwrecks during rough conditions at sea. The recorded death toll in the central Mediterranean has passed 1,800 so far this year—although the true number is likely higher. (TNH)

Tunisia: detained migrants left stranded in desert —again

In a raid on May 3, authorities dismantled a tent encampment set up by refugees, asylum seekers, and migrants outside the office of the UN’s refugee agency, UNHCR, in Tunisia’s capital. Activist groups say some people cleared from the encampment were bused to a remote border region with Algeria and left in the desert without food or water. Tunisian authorities also arrested prominent anti-racism activist Saadia Mosbah, accusing her of money-laundering for activities related to supporting asylum seekers and migrants. (TNH)