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Tunisia: 1,700 Tunisians sent back ‘forcibly’ by Italy, claims former MP

Former Tunisian MP and migration activist Majdi Karbai has claimed that the Italian authorities have forcibly deported about 1,700 Tunisian migrants since the beginning of this year.

“The forced deportation of Tunisian migrants from Italy to Tunisia in 2022 until October amounted to 1694 Tunisians on board 62 flights,” Karbai wrote on Facebook. “According to the figures, the number of Tunisian migrants deported in August was 342, which is the highest percentage of migrants deported in one month, and a record compared with previous years.”

Karbai pointed out that Tunisia ranks first in the number of deportees at the international level, as well as in the Arab world. “The number of deportees sent back to Egypt was 229, although the number of Egyptian migrants in 2022 exceeded the number of Tunisian migrants.” Just over 19,000 Egyptian migrants reached Italy as of 18 November, while the number of Tunisians was 17295.

READ: Italy refuses to repatriate 4-year-old Tunisia girl

The former MP said that the return of Tunisian migrants falls within the framework of the bilateral agreement between Tunisia and Italy in the fight against irregular migration and forced deportation. “This was the focus of a telephone conversation between Italian Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani and Tunisia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Ousmane Jerandi.”

A few months ago, Karbai revealed to Al-Quds Al-Arabi that Tunisian migrants had been exposed to sexual violence as well as exploitation by organised crime gangs within Italy. He called upon the European Union to look for a new approach to address this phenomenon, based mainly on social, economic and humanitarian aspects, rather than exclusively security solutions.

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