UNHCR and partners working to help manage Tunisian arrivals in Italy
This is a summary of what was said by UNHCR spokesperson Melissa Fleming – to whom quoted text may be attributed – at today's press briefing at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.
UNHCR and its partners from the International Organization for Migration and Save the Children Fund are in Lampedusa and several locations in southern Italy working with local authorities to manage the recent influx of Tunisians. According to the Italian Government over 5,200 people have arrived since mid-January, with the vast majority (4,400) having arrived during the past few days. While most are young men we know of at least 20 women and over 200 minors, many unaccompanied.
Described by the Italian Government as a humanitarian emergency, we appreciate the sensitive approach that has been taken so far, with all actors recognizing that among this mixed group there may be some who need to apply for asylum. From discussions with new arrivals it is clear that while most are coming in search of employment, others are citing fear of violence and a breakdown of law and order in their home regions.
UNHCR is concerned that people smugglers in Tunisia are exploiting youth by promising them a better life in Europe. Although the journey is short, high seas and bad weather can make it perilous. Most of the new arrivals are in good health, but some have arrived soaked through, and suffering exhaustion. We have received unconfirmed reports that at least four people have drowned.
The large number of people arriving over such a short period has put a significant pressure on the small island of Lampedusa. A reception centre designed for 800 people is currently holding over 2,000. Following a number of flights to relieve congestion in Lampedusa, we understand that other reception centres in Italy are also reaching capacity. We appreciate all efforts being made by the Italian Government to provide shelter and assistance for the new arrivals and hope that a solution is found quickly to relieve the pressure on Lampedusa.
The Italian Government has clearly stated its commitment to providing access to asylum procedures for those who are seeking international protection. We welcome this commitment and urge solidarity with Italy as it faces this new chapter of mixed migration. UNHCR hopes that any mechanisms designed to control irregular migration will continue to ensure access to asylum for people in need of protection.
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Tunisians save hundreds as another Lampedusa-bound boat capsizes3 Jun 2011 ... and scores remain missing following a boat capsizing off the Tunisian coast on Wednesday afternoon. ... It capsized as desperate passengers rushed to one side, seeking rescue by the Tunisian coast guard ......
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Tunisian Red Crescent / Croissant-Rouge Tunisien27 Oct 2011 ... Address: 19, rue d'Angleterre 1000 Tunis Tunisia Tel: +216 71 320 630 Fax: +216 71 320 151 Email: email@example.com Web: www.tunisianredcrescent.org...
Tunisian Association of Reproductive Health / Association Tunisienne de la Santé de la Reproduction27 Oct 2011 ... Address: 2, Rue Obaid Allah Al Mahdi El Menzah VII - 2080 Ariana Tunis Tunisia Tel: +216 71 23 2419 Fax: +216 71 767 263 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Web: www.atsr-jeunes.org.tn...
Tunisian Union of Social Solidarity / Union Tunisienne de Solidarité Sociale27 Oct 2011 ... Address: 1, Rue de l'Assistance Cité el Khadra 1003 Tunis Tunisia Email: email@example.com Web: www.utss.org.tn...
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UNHCR Global Report 2011 - Tunisia1 Jun 2012 ... assistance from UNHCR that reinforced the Tunisian authorities’ relief efforts at the border. ... Most were referred to resettlement countries. l Some 80,000 Libyans residing with Tunisian host ......
UNHCR and partners working to help manage Tunisian arrivals in Italy15 Feb 2011 ... International Organization for Migration and Save the Children Fund are in Lampedusa and several locations in southern Italy working with local authorities to manage the recent influx of Tunisians. ......