UNHCR Tunisia Operational Update - 31 October 2019
2,897 Persons of Concern to UNHCR
1,665 Newly registered asylumseekers and refugees since January 2019 (following profiling)
63% of people who arrived in Tunisia in 2019 as part of mixed population movements expressed intention to seek asylum in Tunisia
USD 7.8 M required for 2019 operations
During the month of October, some 158 third country nationals reached Tunisia, crossing overland through Libya (8) or rescued/intercepted at sea (150). Since 23 October, the border crossing point at Ras Jedir (Medenine Governorate) has remained closed on the Libyan side, by unilateral decision of the Minister of Interior of the Government of National Accord (GNA). Currently, only travellers who want to return to their home country and those in need of urgent medical care are being granted access to cross, while all other transit is suspended.
UNHCR’s Office in Tunis has continued to receive a high number of new arrivals seeking asylum. Most new arrivals are from sub-Saharan African countries and had initially arrived in Tunisia by plane with a three-month visa, which has since expired. UNHCR partner, Tunisian Refugee Council (CTR), has been receiving registration requests, providing counselling on the asylum procedure and identifying vulnerable cases who need to be prioritized for registration. Currently, more than 1,000 individuals are awaiting registration and another 1,000 are awaiting Refugee Status Determinations.
Since the beginning of 2019, five vulnerable refugees have been resettled in third countries (Sweden, France, Netherlands and Norway), while another eight refugees are awaiting departure. Another 26 cases have been submitted for resettlement, with decisions pending. In total, there are 70 resettlement places available for vulnerable refugees in Tunisia.
Some 79 refugee and asylum-seekers students enrolled in primary and secondary education received a one-time education grant equivalent to USD 70 to pay for school fees and school materials. Refugees and asylumseekers in Tunisia have benefitted from access to public education since a 2011 decision from the Ministry of Education.
On 26 October, the Tunisian association Mawjoudin opened its doors to LGBTIQ refugees and asylum-seekers, to help show that services are available to assist in defending the rights of people with different sexual orientations in Tunisia. Several NGOs are present in different areas of the country, providing counselling, psychological support, recreational activities, legal support, and carrying out activities for the prevention of sexually transmitted diseases for the benefit of the LGBTIQ refugee community. The inclusion of refugees and asylum-seekers in such programmes is essential for their protection.