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Rights group raises alarm over influx of Tunisians to Europe

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A Tunisian rights group, the Tunisian Forum of Economic and Social Rights (TFESR), has raised the alarm over a new wave of Tunisian migrants heading to Italy as a result of the economic and political crisis in the country.

An official of the TFESR, Ramadan Ben Omar, who addressed a press conference in Tunis on Wednesday, said the number of Tunisian migrants landing on Italian shores has increased by 23 percent to 13,500 in the first eight months of this year from the same period in 2021.

He attributed the exodus to the lingering political and economic crisis in the country.

Ben Omar said: “The bad economic situation is no longer a sole reason for rise of illegal journey toward Italy. There is also a stifling political crisis and a decline in freedoms, in addition to social tension and loss of hope among Tunisians.

READ ALSO: Tunisia orders arrest of former presidential candidate

“Videos we have seen on social media show entire families embarking on boats amid a sharp rise in the number of sailings from Tunisian coasts as the country’s economic crisis deepened.

“Over 2,600 minors, 640 women and 500 Tunisian families have arrived on the Italian coasts in boats this year while about 570 people have drowned off the Tunisian coast this year alone.

“The Tunisian authorities have managed to prevent more than 23,500 Tunisians from reaching the Italian coasts by thwarting about 1,800 crossings.”

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