A boat with migrants who set off from Tunisia arrives in the port of the Italian island of Lampedusa | Photo: ANSA/Elio Desiderio
A boat with migrants who set off from Tunisia arrives in the port of the Italian island of Lampedusa | Photo: ANSA/Elio Desiderio

Nearly 2,000 migrants and refugees reached Italian coasts from Tunisia last month, according to the Tunisian Forum for Economic and Social Rights (FTDES). The number of arrivals from Tunisia in Italy so far this year has already surpassed arrivals for all of 2021.

Roughly 2,000 migrants and refugees arrived in Italy after crossing the Mediterranean from Tunisia in October, according to a recent report by FTDES, a prominent Tunisian non-governmental organization (NGO) focused on civil and migrants' rights.

More arrivals of migrants, refugees from Tunisia

Arrivals from Tunisia in Italy increased significantly this year, according to data shared by the Tunisian rights organization. In October, the number of migrant arrivals for 2022 surpassed the total number of migrant arrivals for all of 2021. As of October 26, 16,292 people arrived from Tunisia since the beginning of the year, compared to 14,342 in 2021, FTDES reported, drawing on data from the Italian interior ministry.

In the first ten months of the year, a total of 3,267 migrants under the age of 18 arrived in Italy -- rougly 70% of them were unaccompanied, travelling without their parents or other adult family members, according to FTDES.

769 of the migrants who arrived in Italy via Tunisia this year were women, FTDES said in its report.

Many migrant boats stopped, returned to Tunisia

Tunisian authorities stopped about 326 boats in October; 5,650 people were intercepted and returned to Tunisia, according to FTDES.

Since the beginning of the year, over 29,000 migrants have been stopped at sea in their attempt to get to Europe from Tunisia, the Tunisian NGO said.

At least 544 people have died trying to cross the Mediterranean from Tunisia to Europe since the beginning of the year (as of October 26), according to FTDES.

Since 2020, Tunisian coast guard migrant recovery operations have increased greatly, the NGO stressed.

Dozens of migrants intercepted in early November

So far this month, several interceptions have already taken place.

During the night between Tuesday and Wednesday (November 1 and 2), the Tunisian coast guard stopped 101 migrants on boats in its territorial waters and returned them to Tunisia, a spokesman wrote on the Tunisian National Guard's Facebook page. He said that among those intercepted, 16 were Tunisian nationals, while 85 were from other African nations.

 

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