Tunisia + 3 more

UNHCR Tunisia Operational Update - 31 August 2020

Situation Report
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As of 31 August 2020, Tunisia recorded 4,196 total cases of COVID-19, including 81 deaths and 1,628 cases recovered. Active cases rose from 289 (as of 1 August) to 2,487 at the end of the month, with a predominance of local transmissions. The Tunisian Government announced new preventive measures that entered into force on 26 August: the obligation to wear a mask in all public places and the presentation of a negative PCR test to enter the country from abroad. UN Agencies have adopted more strict hygiene and prevention measures, while working modalities remain the same (100 per cent in-office presence).

Operational Response

On 26-27 August, UNHCR partner the Arab Institute for Human Rights (AIHR) organized a brainstorming workshop on the prevention of statelessness in Tunisia, with the participation of Tunisian lawyers and judges, who could analyse the systems related to obtainment of nationality, registration at birth and documentation; as well as assess the existing gaps in the body and case law. Two additional workshops are scheduled with the aim of producing a study about statelessness prevention in Tunisian legislation.

With the support of the Legal Assistance Unit, a request to register a new-born refugee in the civil registry of Ariana municipality (Tunis) was positively assessed by the civil judge, after an initial refusal because the mother of child did not have any other identity document but the refugee card. This decision represents an important step towards the recognition of basic rights for refugees in Tunisia and the prevention of statelessness.

On 25 August, ten refugee and asylum seeker children between 13 and 16 years old took part in an awareness-raising session on domestic and school violence organized in Sousse, in partnership with the Tunisian Society of Reproductive Health. The children learnt how to detect and report violence and could share their experiences. Individual counselling and psychosocial support follow-up were also offered.

On 12 August, UNHCR partner Tunisian Refugee Council (CTR) organized a debate in partnership with the Tunis Tennis Club, for refugees and asylum seekers belonging to the LGBTI community to discuss self-reliance and the protection challenges they face. A dedicated remote protection desk was launched by UNHCR to follow-up on individual cases and protection concerns raised by the participants.

A book club was launched in Zeitouna shelter in Zarzis, hosting around 60 refugees and asylum seekers of different nationalities. Books in Arabic, English and French provided by CTR were distributed and a first group debate to discuss them will be organized soon.
During August, ten vulnerable refugees were resettled in third countries (France and Norway), while another six refugees are awaiting departure. Nine additional cases were submitted for resettlement, with decisions pending.