Tunisia: Some 5,509 Unaccompanied Minors Reach Italian Coasts in Past Five Years

Tunis/Tunisia — Official spokesman for the Tunisian Forum for Economic and Social Rights (FTDES) Romdhane Ben Omar said that 5,509 unaccompanied minors and 1,335 accompanied minors reached the Italian coasts over the past five years.

Besides, 42,703 men and 1,251 women arrived to the Italian coasts between 2017 and 2021, and 53,524 migrants were prevented from entering Italy during the same period, Ben Omar indicated during a press conference held on Wednesday at the National Union of Tunisian Journalists (SNJT) seat to present the annual report on irregular migration.

He specified that 870 irregular migrants have arrived to Italy since January 1, 2022 and 2,722 were prevented from entering the Italian territory, adding that 254 attempts at irregular migration have been thwarted.

The unemployment rate was up by 0.5 percentage points compared to the second quarter (Q2) of last year to 18.4%, the Forum spokesperson underlined.

The unemployment rate for young people aged between 15 and 24 increased in Q3 of 2021 to 42.4% compared to 41.7% in Q2 of the same year, the official added.

The Forum reported a drop in the activity rate to 46.5% during Q3 of 2021.

Thus, the number of the active population in Tunisia, according to the national survey on employment during Q3 of last year, stood at 4,141.6 thousand against 4,153.3 thousand in Q2, a fall by 0.5 point in the activity rate, i.e. 11.7 thousand.

The country’s western and southern regions recorded the highest unemployment rates.

According to the report, these figures are indicative of the situation of “crisis” the country is going through in relation to the high number of COVID-19 infections and deaths, failure of the public health system especially in the period before July 25, 2021, the paralysis of the tourism sector, the disruption of the agricultural and fishing sectors, the persistence of corruption and the rise in the number of protest movements.

The report states that 632 people, the majority of whom are minors from the Ettadhamen, Mallasine, Fouchana, Sijoumi and Tebourba neighbourhoods, were arrested by the police in January 2021.

The violation of freedoms, the repression of protest movements and the economic situation have been the main factors behind the increase of irregular migration in Tunisia since 2020, after the decrease in the number of arrivals to Italy in 2019 compared to 2018, according to the same source.

Tunisia, which is a country of transit, departure and liaison in the Mediterranean region, registers the entry of irregular migrants of various nationalities (between 70 and 80) every year. In 2021, 44.6% of migrants are Tunisians and 55.4% are foreigners.

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