Tunis, Mar 26 (EFE).- At least 19 sub-Saharan migrants died when their boat sank off the Tunisian coast of Mahdia on Sunday, the Tunisian Forum for Social and Economic Rights (FTDES) confirmed.
This is the third deadly shipwreck in the past 72 hours, bringing the total number of deaths to 24, with 62 missing and 40 survivors.
On Friday, some 30 organizations accused the ministry of interior of repressing humanitarian campaigns helping migrants after president Kais Saied said that undocumented African migrants were part of a plot aimed at changing Tunisia’s demographics and Arabic identity
Security forces have intercepted nearly 10,000 migrants since the beginning of the year, compared to the 3,000 registered during the same period last year, according to the latest FTDES figures.
The president’s speech prompted a wave of arrests and xenophobic attacks against sub-Saharan citizens but following criticism from the international community, the government announced measures to facilitate legal residence, as well as voluntary repatriation.
Hundreds of migrants, mostly from the Ivory Coast and Guinea, have requested to be repatriated to their home countries after losing their jobs and, in some cases, being expelled from their rented homes by the owners.
According to figures from the Italian ministry of interior, more than 18,000 migrants reached Italy from Tunisia last year, 4,000 of them minors. Some 600 died while crossing the Central Mediterranean, which includes the Libyan coast, considered the world’s deadliest migratory sea crossing.EFE