Magazine article Forced Migration Review

Resettlement Is Needed for Refugees in Tunisia

Magazine article Forced Migration Review

Resettlement Is Needed for Refugees in Tunisia

Article excerpt

With Tunisia experiencing wide-ranging political, social and economic change, there is an imperative need to alleviate the burden of hosting people fleeing Libya who are unable to return to their countries of origin.

The countries neighbouring Libya were not in a position to provide more than temporary refuge for many people who had experienced multiple displacement from their countries of origin and previous countries of asylum.

"I am very happy but also fearful," says Tigi1, a 21-year-old Eritrean woman who has been living in Shousha camp in southern Tunisia since the early days of the war in Libya and who has been selected to go through a resettlement programme to Australia. She fled her country when she was 15 years old, first to Sudan and then Libya. "Life in Libya was very difficult. I worked as a domestic worker."

Musse has been less lucky. Also from Eritrea, his resettlement application to Norway and USA has been rejected and his life is about waiting. "Going back to Libya now is not an option. Sub-Saharan Africans are being detained and tortured." Some of his friends went back to Libya to take a boat towards Europe. "They are now in Italy. We have to wait for a slow solution here in the camp, so they decided for the quick solution. We are young but time is against us." Talking to these young men, one realises how many of them are ready to risk their lives taking a boat for Lampedusa or Malta. Many say, "The alternative is Shousha, so what can I lose?"

Extended stay in Shousha camp poses considerable risks to families with small children, unaccompanied minors, persons with serious medical conditions and other vulnerable persons. Resettlement is, for the time being, the only realistic durable solution for the refugees in Shousha. But there has been a limited response by European countries thus far in providing resettlement spaces for refugees living in Shousha camp with the majority of refugees being submitted to the US. However, vulnerable cases face significant difficulties because of the slower processing time of the US (6-12 months before departure is the norm). In addition, some refugees in Shousha camp will be ineligible to be submitted for resettlement to the US due to its restrictive approach to persons perceived to be affiliated to certain opposition groups. Alternative solutions need to be found for these individuals. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.