Dozens arrested in Tunisia in an attempt to reach Europe

8th August 2013

From August 2nd to August 5th, the National Guard and the Tunisian police arrested dozens of people trying to leave the Tunisian coast to Lampedusa or Sicily.

Presumably, political instability gives boat-people and smugglers the illusion of a loosening of security forces which patrol coasts and territorial waters. Since the explosion of the political crisis, police forces have seemed more zealous than previous.

The arrests records reported under-equipped boats (no satellite phone or GPS) and makes no mention of relief supplies on board.

Source: Turess News Paper

Boats 4 People: A delegation meets sole survivor of tragic incident that cost the lives of 55

11th July 2012

A year and a few months after the "left-to-die boat" case lead to international indignation, another dramatically similar incident reveals how, despite the changed geopolitical situation, migrants keep dying in the Mediterranean sea in appalling conditions.

Last year, in March 2011, 63 people who had left Tripoli in the attempt to reach the Southern shores of Italy, died after drifting for 14 days at sea. This incident occurred during the international military intervention in Libya and as such in meticulously surveilled waters. Several damning reports were released on the failures of a series of actors and a legal case was filed in France for non-assistance. Now, despite the fall of the Qaddafi regime and the end of the international intervention in Libya, Boats4People has learned during an interview conducted this morning in Zarzis, Southern Tunisia, about another tragic case that shows once again the dramatic effects of the European migration regime.

Abbas, an Eritrean national who is the only survivor of this incident, was found on Tuesday at 14:30 by a Tunisian fisherman 35 miles off the coasts of Zarzis. He was hanging onto the remains of the rubber dinghy with which he had left Tripoli around 14 days earlier with 56 people on board (20 Somalians, 2 Sudanese and 34 Eritreans), among which his older brother and two sisters. After approximately 26 hours of navigation, the boat, which was in very bad conditions, capsized and only Abbas managed to hold onto the boat, whose engine was nevertheless damaged after falling into the water. He drifted alone for fourteen days in the open sea, occasionally sighting in the distance other vessels. After finally rescued by a Tunisian fisherman yesterday, a patrol boat of the Tunisian "Garde National Maritime" was sent out and took him onboard at 15:30. He was brought to the hospital in Zarzis, where he received treatment for dehydration and extreme exhaustion.

Boats4People denounces once again the politics of closure that oblige migrants to resort to dangerous means to cross the Mediterranean as well as the criminalization of assistance to migrants in distress at sea, which have de facto transformed the Mediterranean in a cemetery.

In collaboration with researchers of the Forensic Oceanography project at Goldsmiths College, Boats4People will keep inquiring to determine if any measure could have been taken to avert the tragic fate of the passengers of this boat.

A video of the interview will soon be made available.

A report concerning the protest demonstration of Monday May the 14th 2012 at the Choucha camp of UNHCR, Tunisia

This report was sent to us by refugees from the Choucha camp.

THE CONCERN AND DIFFICULTIES OF THE REJECTED CASES AND PEOPLE LIVING IN THE CAMP AS RECOGNISED REFUGEES WITHOUT RESSETLEMENTS.

A peaceful protest demonstration was held by the communities living in choucha camp for long without a solution.

Nationalities affected by the UNHCR final rejections that cannot return to their countries of origin, due to commitments and personal differences that we earlier explained in our interviews.

No possibilities of returning to Libya,due to polical instability and regional conflicts. Also, we cannot remain in the desert without a solution to our plights.