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40 migrants arrive in Tunisia after 20 days at sea

August 2, 2018 at 12:11 am

Migrants in the Med [File photo, AA]

A boat carrying 40 African migrants arrived in Tunisia, Wednesday, after spending more than 20 days in the sea aboard a ship which belongs to an international oil company. It landed at the port of Zarzis in Medenine province, southeast of Tunisia.

According to Anadolu, Tunisian State Secretary for Immigration Adel Jarboui and the UNHCR representative in Tunisia, Mazin Abu Shanab,  received the boat of African migrants.

According to a  statement by Shams Eddin Marzouk, a member of the Red Crescent in the city of Zarzis, on July 12, a boat belonging to an international oil company discovered migrants stranded 13 miles off the coast of Tunisia.

Initially “These migrants refused to be taken to the Tunisian coast, demanding to be received by Italy or Malta. However, as European countries refused to accept them, they were moved to an area near the southern coast of Tunisia,” Marzouk said.

Read: Tunisia allows boat with migrants to dock after leaving it stranded for two weeks

Anadolu reported that negotiations were held today between the Tunisian Secretary of State for Immigration and State Expatriates and the migrants who were determined not to move to the Tunisian coast, but eventually agreed.

“Mandated by the Prime Minister, Youssef Chahed, I received the migrants today. We will provide them with the necessary psychological and health support and they will leave Tunisia as soon as possible,” Jarboui told Anadolu.

In turn, Mazin Abu Shanab praised Tunisia’s role in receiving the immigrants’ boat.

Abu Shanab told Anadolu, “A 20-day crisis has been resolved thanks to Tunisia’s acceptance of the boat entry.”

Ali Haji, the captain of the boat that found the migrants, said that issue was purely humanitarian, not legal.

The Tunisian Red Crescent is providing food and shelter to these immigrants while they wait to move to shelters

Read: 3,073 Tunisians head to Europe illegally

Following international laws, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) will repatriate migrants as long do not face persecution in their homelands. The UHNCR will assist others whose cannot return home.

The southern coast of Tunisia is home to the arrival of thousands of illegal immigrants who are left stranded on their way from Libya towards the Italian Island, Lampedusa.

In Medenine province, there is a shelter where immigrants reside, pending legal status by obtaining an asylum status in Tunisia or returning to their home country.