African immigrants queue for aid boxes distributed by the Raoued town hall in Tunis, Tunisia | Photo: EPA/MOHAMED MESSARA
African immigrants queue for aid boxes distributed by the Raoued town hall in Tunis, Tunisia | Photo: EPA/MOHAMED MESSARA

UNHCR and the Tunisian government signed a Memorandum of Understanding on December 2 to improve the inclusion of vulnerable refugee and asylum seekers in the use of state assistance services.

UNHCR and the Tunisian social affairs ministry have signed an agreement on collaboration for better inclusion of vulnerable refugees and asylum seekers in the use of state assistance services.

UNHCR-UTSS partnership

A UNHCR statement noted that this MOU will be implemented through a partnership between UNHCR and the Tunisian Union for Social Solidarity (UTSS) and will enable better access to reception services and temporary lodgings run by the ministry in Tunis, Sfax, and Sidi Bouzid, as well as the distribution of clothes for vulnerable refugees, asylum seekers, and Tunisian host communities.

Collaboration essential for refugee assistance

The collaboration between UNHCR and the social affairs ministry is essential when it concerns the protection of and assistance to refugees and asylum seekers with specific needs, such as unaccompanied minors, women with young children, and survivors of sexual and gender-based violence.

The services of the Tunisian social affairs ministry have provided key support to UNHCR over the years and especially during the COVID-19 emergency.

Moreover, thanks to a ministry decision, since May 2019 refugees registered with the Tunisian office of UNHCR that have contracts authorised by the Tunisian labor ministry or that are self-employed can access Tunisian social services (CNSS).

 

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