For bilateral cooperation that respects the rights of Migrants, assures their dignity and respects the sovereignty of States


Tunis, November 12th, 2019

For bilateral cooperation that respects the rights of Migrants, assures their dignity and respects the sovereignty of States

According to the press release issued by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, a work session was organized to gather representatives of the Tunisian and Italian Ministries of the Interior and Foreign Affair, which was held on Wednesday, November 6th 2019 in the headquarters of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Italy, to “negotiate a new framework agreement on migration and development[1]”.

This meeting was held in response to the pressure exerted lately by the Italian government to speed up the process of forced displacement of Tunisian immigrants and, in addition, in the context of the process driven by the Italian government of “Giuseppe Conte”, to qualify harbors as safe with the purpose to intensify the forced deportation operations of received immigrants.

Media and official pressures escalated lately against Tunisia for not being able to control its maritime borders. This is despite the fact that the number of irregular immigrants arriving in Italy has fallen to half during the period between January and September 2019, reaching 2175 immigrants in 2019 in comparison with 5034 immigrants in 2018, with the increase to more than 382 interception operations of irregular immigration by the Tunisian authorities.

The Tunisian Forum for Economic and Social Rights has already warned about the dangers related to the Italian pressures exerted on Tunisia regarding immigration, in a way that infringes its sovereignty, stability and the principles of constitution of Tunisia and violates the essential principles of cooperation that should be based on the respect of the rights of migrants and the sovereignty of States[2].

Thus, the Tunisian Forum for Economic and Social Rights:

  • Calls to suspend any negotiation that doesn’t respect the rights of migrants and the principle of non-displacement;
  • Claims to stop immediately any kind of coordination and cooperation with Italy concerning the operations of forced and group displacement which happen every week without any respect for international and European conventions (The 1951 United Nations Refugee Convention and its 1967 Protocol, especially its article 33, and the articles 3, 4, 13 and 14 of the European Convention for Human Rights);
  • Calls upon the government to respect its position to refuse forced displacement, as declared by the Minister of Social Affairs in December 2018[3];
  • Calls to renew its support to all humanitarian operations carried out in the Mediterranean and to all bilateral cooperation actions that respect human rights and the sovereignty of States and assure the dignity of migrants, and to all civil efforts that contribute in reducing tragedies in the Mediterranean.

It should be mentioned that the forced displacement operations of Tunisian immigrants are organized secretly through the Nfidha Airport. 64 operations were organized in 2017 to deport 1916 immigrants, 66 operations were organized in 2018 to deport 1907 immigrants.

The Tunisian Forum for Economic and Social Rights

The President: Abderrahmane Hedhili