Refugees and asylum seekers originate mainly from middle east, sub-Saharan and horn of Africa. They reach Tunisia by land or air from neighbouring countries or sub-Saharan Africa and within mixed migration movements, by sea or land to/from Libya.
Tunisia has yet to adopt a national asylum system. UNHCR is the sole entity conducting registration and Refugee Status Determination (RSD). The unstable political and socio-economic situation also restrain durable solutions available for most refugees and asylum seekers.
The deteriorating security and political situation of neighbouring countries, namely Libya, may trigger major influx of persons in need of international protection and assistance.
Working with Partners
Together with the Tunisian Government, UNHCR ensures international protection and delivery of multi-sectorial assistance to persons of concern. UNHCR works with Ministry of Education, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Social Affairs, Ministry of Women, Family, Childhood and the Elderly, Ministry of Vocational Training and Employment among others to allow refugees and asylum seekers enjoy essential rights and basic services; and to include them in their social and economic programmes. Moreover, UNHCR has a positive collaboration with state entities at local level, namely in southern Tunisia, where the highest number of refugees and asylum seekers are hosted.
UNHCR collaborates closely with the UN Resident Coordinator and other UN Agencies, such as IOM, UNICEF, WHO, WFP and humanitarian actors for a coordinated and effective response.
The following partners implement specific sectors of activities:
Arab Institute for Human Rights (AIHR) - capacity building and advocacy on international protection and asylum issues, including in the context of mixed populations movements and legal assistance.
Tunisian Association for Management and Social Stability (TAMSS) – livelihoods and self-reliance activities, support to access employment, including vocational training, micro-business and wage employment.
Tunisian Refugees Council (CTR) – profiling of new arrivals; reception and shelter management; multi–sector assistance (food vouchers and non-food items, cash assistance); support to healthcare and education; individual case management and community based protection; protection and prevention against sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV); child protection; psychosocial support; assistance to persons with specific needs; counselling and recreational activities in the context of mixed population flows.
UNHCR is a member of the United Nations Country Team (UNCT) in Tunisia and contributes to the planning of the next five-year Cooperation Framework that will constitute the backbone of the UN collaboration with the Government for the period (2021-2025).