21.02.2017

Into­le­ra­ble pres­su­re on Tuni­sia

Late­ly, Tuni­sian aut­ho­ri­ties have been the tar­get of into­le­ra­ble pres­su­re by Ger­ma­ny and Ita­ly. Wit­hin a week, they have been forced to cla­ri­fy their oppo­si­ti­on to the Ger­man as well as to the Ita­li­an aut­ho­ri­ties which were alle­ged­ly plan­ning to send migrants and refu­gees back to Tuni­sia. Domestic secu­ri­ty issu­es appe­ar as a cor­ner­stone in the coope­ra­ti­on frame­work impo­sed to Tuni­sia albeit being atta­ched to a domain which is clear­ly dis­tinct from it: the right of asyl­um.

Pushing for the dis­em­bar­ka­ti­on in Tuni­sia of peop­le inter­cep­ted by the Ita­li­an coast-guards in exchan­ge for sup­port in coun­ter-ter­ro­rism poli­ci­es, as sug­gested in an Ita­li­an press arti­cle, would be in bla­tant bre­ach of the EU’s as well as Italy’s legal obli­ga­ti­ons. The lat­ter was actual­ly alrea­dy con­dem­ned by the European Court of Human Rights in 2012 for pushing back refu­gees to Libya and thus for resor­ting to the exact same prac­tices.

In so doing, Ita­ly would act in pure and unbe­ara­ble cyni­cism for the fight against ter­ro­rism is a mat­ter of con­cern not only to Tuni­sia, but also to the European Uni­on.

This pres­su­re is adding up to claims that the Bel­gi­an par­li­a­ment is con­si­de­ring adop­ting a read­mis­si­on clau­se as part of the con­ver­si­on of the Tuni­sian debt into invest­ment by Bel­gi­um in Tuni­sian agreed upon last Decem­ber 2016.

As Ger­ma­ny, Bel­gi­um and Ita­ly are con­si­de­ring lis­ting Tuni­sia as a »safe« coun­try of ori­gin, our orga­ni­sa­ti­ons stress that the use of the noti­on of »safe« coun­try impe­des on the right of asyl­um and that, in any case, the situa­ti­on in Tuni­sia does not meet the cri­te­ria pro­vi­ded for in European law to deem a coun­try of ori­gin or of tran­sit »safe« (Direc­tive 2013/32/EU).

Tuni­sia does not have a legal frame­work pro­tec­ting refu­gees and asyl­um see­kers, nor can it offer any recep­ti­on means to peop­le in need of inter­na­tio­nal pro­tec­tion. The­re is no safe­guard against cri­mi­na­li­sa­ti­on for »unaut­ho­ri­sed exist«,[1] in vio­la­ti­on of the fun­da­men­tal right to lea­ve any coun­try, or any pro­ce­du­ral safe­guard for tho­se unwil­ling to seek asyl­um and who may be detai­ned and depor­ted in inhu­ma­ne and degra­ding con­di­ti­ons.

Pres­su­re on Tuni­sia has to stop. Ins­tead, the European Uni­on and its Mem­ber Sta­tes should tru­ly com­mit to the recep­ti­on of refu­gees and migrants on their ter­rito­ry, and should effec­tively sup­port Tuni­sia in the streng­t­he­ning of its Rule of Law and the fight against ter­ro­rism.

Sig­nato­ry orga­ni­sa­ti­ons

Ger­ma­ny

Pro­Asyl

Ita­ly

Asso­cia­zio­ne Ric­ra­e­ti­va e Cul­tu­ra­le Ita­lia­na (ARCI)

Ita­li­an Immi­gra­ti­on Legal Prac­ti­tio­ners Asso­cia­ti­on (ASGI)

Tuni­sia

Afri­que Intel­li­gence

Afri­can Lea­ders Uni­on

Citi­zenship and Free­dom Asso­cia­ti­on – Djer­ba

Coope­ra­ti­on for Deve­lop­ment in Emer­ging Coun­tries (COSPE)

Tunis Cent­re for Migra­ti­on and Asyl­um (CeTU­MA)

Tuni­sian Fede­ra­ti­on for a Citi­zenship on both shores of the Medi­ter­ra­ne­an (FTCR)

Tuni­sian Forum for Eco­no­mic and Soci­al Rights (FTDES)

Tuni­sian Gene­ral Labour Uni­on (UGTT)

Tuni­sian League for Human Rights

Uni­on for Afri­can Stu­dents and Interns in Tuni­sia

UTOPIA Tuni­sie

Vigi­lan­ce for Demo­cra­cy and Civil Regis­tra­ti­on (Vigi­lan­ce pour la Démo­cra­tie et l’Etat Civil)

Dia­spo­ra orga­ni­sa­ti­ons

Asso­cia­ti­on Inter­cul­tu­rel­le Pro­duc­tion Dif­fu­si­on Docu­men­ta­ti­on (AIDDA)

Asso­cia­ti­on of Maghreb Workers in Fran­ce (ATMF)

Asso­cia­ti­on of Tuni­sians in Switz­er­land (ATTS)

Asso­cia­ti­on of Tuni­sian Immi­grants – Citi­zens of both shores of the Medi­ter­ra­ne­an – Gre­no­ble

Asso­cia­ti­on of Tuni­sians in the North – Lil­le

Asso­cia­ti­on Le Pont de Genè­ve

Collec­tif  Cul­tu­re, Créa­ti­on, Citoy­enne­té – 3C

Com­mit­tee of Tuni­sian Immi­grants in Ita­ly (CITI)

Com­mit­tee for the Respect of Free­doms and Human Rights in Tuni­sia (CRLDHT)

Demo­cra­tic Orga­ni­sa­ti­on of Tuni­sians in Fran­ce (ADTF)

Fah­rat Hached Asso­cia­ti­on for Soli­da­ri­ty and Jus­ti­ce

Tuni­sian Women Group (Collec­tif des Femmes Tuni­si­en­nes CFT)

Tuni­sian Uni­on for the Action of Citi­zens (UTAC)

Vigi­lan­ce Com­mit­tee for Demo­cra­cy in Tuni­sia – Bel­gi­um (CVDT)

Regio­nal

Euro­Med Rights

European Asso­cia­ti­on for the Defence of Human Rights (AEDH)

Mig­reu­rop

[1] This was intro­du­ced as a crime in Tuni­sian law in 2004, as a direct result of pres­su­res from the European Uni­on. The same situa­ti­on app­lies in other coun­tries such as Alge­ria, Moroc­co and Sene­gal.

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