Tunisia: EU needs to aid in repatriation of migrant workers from Tunisia

According to UNHCR Libya hosted 2.5 million migrant workers. 213 000 has since the revolution started returned to their native countries. To Tunisia, Egypt. Turkey, China and the EU, among other. But for those migrant workers who are from poorer countries who cannot or will not assist their countrymen in returning home, the situation now looks dire.

According to UNHCR around 12 500 migrant workers have left Libya for Tunisia and are in need of repatriation. 10 000 of these are citizens of Bangladesh. UNHCR has planned two flight for today, but this is not nearly enough.

If repatriation is not stepped up migrant workers in makeshift camps in Tunisia could quickly change from migrant workers in need of repatriation to asylum seekers for whom EU, and mainly Italy and Malta, are the closest alternatives. The specter of an refugee crisis is looming.

Now it is time for the EU to step up to the plate and provide serious assistance to UNHCR in the form of airplanes to repatriate the migrant workers home.

About Leif Eriksson

Leif Eriksson has worked in the field of asylum at the Swedish Migration Agency specializing in the Middle East, Schengen and the Dublin Regulation, as Migration Attaché and head of the migration section at the Swedish Embassy in Damascus 2005 - 2008, as a resettlement consultant at the UNHCR branch office in Damascus 2008 - 2009, Consul at the Swedish Consulate General in Jerusalem 2012 - 2013 and associate RSD/RST officer at UNHCR in Beirut 2013 - 2014. He currently lives in Tbilisi, Georgia.
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