“Most of undocumented migrants in Tunisia have entered legally, but have overstayed,” says IOM’s Pace

"Most of the undocumented migrants in Tunisia have entered legally but have overstayed," said International Organisation for Migration (IOM) Deputy Chief of Mission and Senior Regional Project Manager in Tunisia Paola Pace. There are approximately 60,000 migrants in Tunisia, between 10 and 15% are in an irregular situation, she told TAP on the sidelines of an event organised at the Convention Centre in Tunis on the celebration of the Africa Day. "To this end, the IOM is endeavouring in partnership with Tunisia to guarantee the rights of migrants and ensure their protection," she pointed out. Several programmes are implemented in partnership with Tunisia to make migration a choice for young people and not a necessity, the official underlined. The second chance school and the promotion of vocational training for young people are among these programmes, she added. "Tunisia also has a large expatriate population around the world and we are seeking to encourage them to invest in their country and in their regions of origin in order to contribute to local development and create jobs," she said. "On the other hand, for migrants living in Tunisia, we are endeavouring to guarantee their rights while helping them to contribute to the development of the host country," said Paola Pace. Taking the floor, Director of IOM's Special Liaison Office to the AU and of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) in Addis Abbaba Mariama Mohamed Cisse called on governments and opinion leaders to exert efforts and play an important role in creating an integrated and resilient Africa that recognises and respects human rights and justice for all. In a recorded intervention broadcast during the event, Cisse regretted that so far the African Union Free Movement of Persons protocol has only been ratified by 4 countries since its adoption in 2018. The 2020 Africa Migration Report estimated that 3% of the African population lives outside their country of origin and about 21 million Africans live in another African country, she said, pointing out that since 2010 inter-African migration has increased by over 43.6% compared to 26% for Africa-Europe migration. "Migration and movement in Africa should be considered as part of a positive phenomenon to harness economic integration," she indicated. "In fact, the free movement of people, capital, goods and services will facilitate access to employment and education and improve the quality of the population's life and the workers' living conditions," she added. On the occasion of the Africa Day, celebrated on May 25 in commemoration of the OAU/AU treaties of May 25, 1963, marking the creation of the Organisation of African Unity, cultural and scientific activities are organised at the Convention Centre in Tunis.

Source: Agence Tunis Afrique Presse