Italy resumes deportation of irregular migrants back to Tunisia

Italy has resumed the deportation of irregular migrants back to Tunisia since mid-August 2020. According to reports from authorities, chartered flights have been scheduled twice a week, with up to 80 irregular migrants on each flight. In addition to regular chartered flights, Tunisia has also committed to increasing patrol teams and surveillance along its coastline.

These measures come under an agreement between Italy and Tunisia, to halt irregular migration via the Central Mediterranean route. Of the 16,000 irregular migrants who have arrived in Italy since the start of the year, nearly half departed from Tunisian shores.

On his recent visit to Tunisia, Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio stated that Italy had “no more room” for irregular migrants. Italy also said it would suspend EUR 6.6 million in cooperation funds for Tunisia’s development unless action was taken to stem the flow of irregular migrants.

TMP – 01/09/2020

Photo credit: EPA/Carlo Ferraro. Photo caption: Italian authorities escorting migrants onto an airplane in Lampedusa, Italy