News on migration and asylum from around the region - Nouvelles de la région sur les questions de migration et d'asile

Tuesday, January 06, 2015

[Tunisia] UNHCR News - Refugees and asylum-seekers in Tunisia; facing an uncertain future

26 December 2014

MEDENINE, Tunisia, (UNHCR)  A rich spicy smell wafts from the simple kitchen, where a stew and a saucepan of beans are bubbling on the gas rings. But here on the fourth floor of this hostel for mostly African refugees and asylum-seekers, although the men's basic needs are taken care of, there's a sense of life in limbo.
"I would like my children to be able to live in safety in a western country," pleads Yusuf* from Somalia, who is one of the nearly 40 people housed in the building. He says he fled Somalia because the fact that he comes from a minority tribe was making his life increasingly difficult.
He tried three times to make it to Europe by boat from the Libyan coast, but each attempt ended in failure, with many deaths along the way. On his most recent try, a few months ago, he was among a group rescued by the Tunisian authorities and handed over to the country's Red Crescent, which runs the hostel in partnership with UNHCR
Not all of the refugees and asylum-seekers have tried to get to Europe by boat. Tesfa*, from Ethiopia, says he intended to get on a vessel from Libya, but had insufficient money to pay the smugglers. Meanwhile, he became more and more scared by the fighting. So he crossed into Tunisia by land.

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