Tunisia faces mounting pressure over forced repatriation of illegal migrants (FTDES)
10/08/2020 17:53, TUNIS/Tunisia

(TAP) - “Tunisia is facing intense pressure because of the forced repatriation of illegal migrants, especially from Italy and Spain,” said information officer of the Tunisian Forum of Economic and Social Rights (French: FTDES) Romdhane Ben Amor.

At a press conference held at the FTDES headquarters, Ben Amor pointed out that there is a wide gap between the declared positions of the two countries backing the nascent democratic experience in Tunisia and their covert attempts to impose new agreements. Under these agreements 80 irregular migrants would be repatriated to Enfidha airport each week. Ben Amor deplored the inhumane conditions in forcefully and collectively repatriating illegal immigrants, saying the repatriation process should meet international standards.

He said the number of illegal immigrants has decreased over the years. In 2017, there were 119,000 irregular migrants from various countries, against 11,000 migrants in 2020.

FTDES President Abderrahmane Hedhili stressed that the mobility partnership agreement signed with the EU in 2014 does not meet the legitimate aspirations of the populations of the southern shore of the Mediterranean for a fair treatment for residents of both shores.

The FTDES President spoke of “readmission agreements” which compel Tunisia to receive its citizens and all other illegal migrants leaving its shores whatever their nationality is.

According to Hedhili, this poses a real threat to Tunisia’s sovereignty and migrants’ rights, knowing that Tunisia has not enacted any law on the rights of asylum seekers.

It did not also sign the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of all Migrant Workers and Members of their Families.

Hedhili called on Tunisia to reconsider the terms of the association agreement, its objectives as well as bilateral agreements particularly with Italy so as to develop a fairer migration policy on the freedom of movement.

He also criticized the absence of a clear migration policy adopted by the government so as to prevent the ongoing violation of migrants’ rights.

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