“The Migration Crisis in Tunisia: Rising Interceptions at Sea, Racism, and Economic Struggles”

2023-04-30 12:46:16

With our correspondent in Tunis, Amira Souilem

Five times more interceptions at sea in the first quarter of 2023 than last year… The figures from the Tunisian coast guard give the measure of the drama that has been playing out off the Tunisian coast since the beginning of the year. It is now by the dozens that are counted bodies recovered each week. More than 200 corpses lie at this time in the morgue of the Sfax hospital, the capacity of which is now very largely exceeded. A project to build a cemetery dedicated to corpses washed up by the sea is now planned in the region.

Since the speech of President Kaïs Saïed, assimilating the presence in Tunisia of thousands of nationals of West and Central African countries to a criminal project aimed at modifying the supposed Arab-Muslim identity of Tunisia, the departures of sub-Saharans have multiplied.

Speeches fueling racism and the economic crisis

Some have hastened their departure for Europe and others have decided to set sail so as not to have to return home. As for the Tunisians, the economic and political crisis which has been shaking their country for months drives a section of the population to despair, which sometimes says it prefers death to staying in a country which, according to them, no longer offers any horizon. The Eid period – considered to be more relaxed in terms of coastal surveillance – is also conducive to this type of departure.

While the reasons for leaving Tunisia are varied, the concern of Europeans and in particular Italians – in the front line of these arrivals – is the same, namely that of seeing the number of these departures increase even more, thanks to the good weather that is coming and an economic and social situation that would get bogged down .

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