Amnesty International condemned a recent migration agreement between the EU and Tunisia on Monday. Amnesty International claimed that the agreement makes the EU “complicit in the suffering that will inevitably result” in what represents a “dangerous expansion” of failed migration policies.
Members of the European Commission signed the memorandum of understanding with Tunisia on Sunday. The agreement commits the EU to providing financial support to Tunisia to deter Europe-bound migration.
European Commission President Ursula Von der Leyen described the agreement as “invest[ing] in shared prosperity” to tackle the growth of migration from Tunisia and target the network of traffickers operating in the region. Both Tunisia and the EU went on to claim the “comprehensive package” is key to tackle the “common priority” of strengthened border management. In line with the agreement, the EU will provide Tunisia with €105 million (around $120 million) in aid to combat irregular immigration, contingent on approval by the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
However, Amnesty International’s Advocacy Director at the European Institutions Office Eve Geddie called the agreement “ill-judged” and accused EU leaders of disregarding the human rights of migrants in the region. “This ill-judged agreement, signed despite mounting evidence of serious human rights abuses by authorities, will result in a dangerous expansion of already failed migration policies and signals EU acceptance of increasingly repressive behaviour by Tunisia’s president and government,” Geddie said.
Tunisia recently forcibly deported hundreds of Black migrants from the country to the Libyan border. The UN previously condemned the Tunisian government’s actions as “cruel and inhuman treatment.”
EU’s Home Affairs Commissioner Ylva Johansson defended the agreement in the European Parliament when faced with some criticism from some lawmakers. She stated the agreement was crucial to “stop[ping] this deadly business of sending people not only to Europe but to death.”
Tunisia is a key departure point for thousands of migrants crossing from North Africa into Europe. According to the International Organization of Migration, migrants mainly come from the Maghreb and Sub-Saharan Africa with the aim of reaching Europe from the Tunisian coasts. Frontex, the European Border Agency, has described the central Mediterranean route as the most path used by refugees to reach the EU. In the first six months of this year, there have been 66,000 detections of migrants crossing via the same path.