Tunisia: Policy, Humanitarian Challenges as Migrants Transit Sfax

by | Apr 25, 2024 | Political, Security, Social, Tunisia


On 23 April 2024, Tunisian security forces broke up migrant camps near the town of al Amra, northwest of the city of Sfax, after clashes were reported between local residents and sub-Saharan African migrants in the region.  

The events, which followed shortly after visits by senior Italian officials, drew criticism from rights groups who continue to raise concerns about the treatment of migrants in Tunisia. 

Videos and photos posted by migrants in the area showed burned tents as well as National Guard vehicles seemingly chasing groups of migrants through olive groves. 

The latest events following multiple reports of the bodies of migrants being recovered along Tunisia’s coast. On 23 April, 19 bodies were recovered off the coast of Sfax while on 24 April local authorities announced that 14 bodies were recovered off the coast of the island of Djerba.  


Tensions over migration are set to increase as many migrants continue to flow into Tunisia’s central coastal regions from both sub-Saharan Africa as well as from neighboring Arab and Asian countries. 

With improved weather conditions on the Mediterranean Sea, migrant flows have increased following a lull throughout the winter months. This rise in crossing attempts has prompted Europe to put more pressure on Tunisia to disrupt attempted sea crossings. Tunisian authorities face the twin pressures from their European partners to manage migrant flows while also avoiding violations of human rights, which has proved challenging. 

With migrants continuing to funnel northward toward Sfax in search of passage to Europe, the issue of migration and the resultant social and security challenges will continue. 


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