• Crisis Severity ?
     
    0 Very low
    Very high 5
  • Impact ?
    4.2
    0 Very low
    Very high 5
  • Humanitarian Conditions ?
     
    0 Very low
    Very high 5
  • Complexity ?
    2.1
    0 Very low
    Very high 5
  • Access Constraints ?
    1.0
    No constraints
    Extreme constraints

Key figures

  • 0 People displaced [?]
  • 849 Fatalities reported [?]

Overview

30/07/2020

Tunisia is an important country of origin and transit for migrants hoping to cross the Mediterranean Sea to Europe. Since mid-2017, the number of Tunisians attempting to migrate to Europe has increased significantly, driven in large part by high unemployment and the perceived lack of economic opportunities in Tunisia.?Tunisians are currently the most represented nationality among migrants who arrive in Italy from the Central Mediterranean migration route, making up over 21% of the arrivals since January 2020.?

Though most migrants departing from Tunisia are Tunisians, a growing number of migrants, refugees, and asylum seekers from other countries arrive in Tunisia with the aim of moving elsewhere, often to Europe.? As of 30 June the country was hosting 4,720 refugees and asylum seekers, primarily from Syria (36%) and Ivory Coast (31%).? Once in Tunisia, many migrants face restricted access to healthcare, shelter, and employment, as well as exposure to protection risks such as human trafficking and scams.? Some migrants also end up becoming trapped in a state of limbo in Tunisia as a result of the government’s practice of imposing fines for residing in the country without proper documentation, as well as making migrants pay for their flights home when deported.?

INFORM measures Tunisia's risk of humanitarian crisis and disaster to be low, at 3.1/10.?

Latest Developments

19/08/2021

No significant recent humanitarian developments. This crisis is being monitored by our analysis team.

Risk

Prolonged sociopolitical unrest leads to violent protests and localised violence resulting in protection and human rights concerns, humanitarian access impediments, and disruption of the COVID-19 response Latest update: 26/10/2021

Probability

Highly unlikely Somewhat likely Highly likely

Impact

Very low Moderate Major

Rationale

Tunisian President Kais Saied suspended parliament, revoked legislators’ parliamentary immunity, and dismissed Prime Minister Hichem Mechichi on 25 July in response to increasing protests against the failure of the COVID-19 response and the economic crisis. This move, labelled by the opponents of the President as a coup, received some public support from the part of the society calling for political reforms in Tunisia, which was heavily affected by the COVID-19 crisis. In 2020, the GDP contracted by almost 9%, and unemployment among young people increased to over 40%?.

The President’s decision led to a deepening constitutional crisis. Kais Saied extended the parliament’s suspension indefinitely on 23 August and refused to hold dialogue with the Ennahda party, which holds the majority of seats in the suspended government?. On 22 September, the President’s public statements suggested he is likely to seek further constitutional reform, which could entail complete dissolution of the parliament and drafting of a new constitution, possibly with a more presidential system. On 29 September, the President named a new prime minister, Najla Boden?. At the same time, the opposition is consolidating against the presidential moves and calling on the President, the army, and the judiciary to respect the current constitution?.

Increasing protests took place in September, both in support of and in opposition to presidential decisions?. Growing sociopolitical unrest is likely to trigger violent police and army response, with the president warning that any violent protests will be met with a military response. The army’s support of the presidential power grab is concerning, as the Tunisian army rarely gets involved in political matters?. The protests are likely to be aggravated by the prevailing political and prolonged economic crisis. Higher mobilisation is anticipated if the economic crisis pushes the President to introduce new austerity measures or changes in subsidy policies?.

Impact

Increased protests are likely to trigger disproportionate police response, as the police already were reported using pepper spray against protesters and storming news agencies associated with the government?. More violent protests are likely to increase during December–January because of the anniversary of the Jasmine Revolution. If violence erupts, it is expected to happen in Tunisia’s three most populated cities: Sfax, Sousse, and Tunis. Up to 100,000 people across Tunisia, including migrants, would likely be most affected by the economic downturn and face humanitarian needs?.

Political instability is highly likely to increase protection concerns and human rights violations. People associated with the opposition movements are likely to experience close surveillance and harassment and be subjected to interrogation, arrest, and imprisonment?. Movement restrictions, administrative impediments, and information disruption stemming from protests will likely hamper any humanitarian response (either for migrants or emerging needs). The response to the COVID-19 outbreak is apt to face disruptions as the President announced that the army would take over management of the COVID-19 crisis?. Migrants and refugees are among the most affected groups because of the expected movement restrictions, humanitarian access constraints, and lack of livelihood opportunities. Migrant children’s needs for education are likely to increase because they are dropping out of school and engaging in child labour. Insecurity in Tunisia and rising unemployment can encourage smugglers to organise sea crossings to Europe for people looking for better economic opportunities, leading to more deaths or detentions?.

Read this risk

COVID-19 Outbreak

06/05/2021

Tunisia has reported about 310,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and over 10,900 deaths since the beginning of the outbreak in March 2020. As at early May 2021, over 26,000 cases were reported on average per one million people. Refugees and migrants – especially women – are in need of cash, mental health support and psychosocial support because of pandemic-associated movement restrictions affecting their livelihoods and ability to afford basic goods. Tunisian authorities apply a night curfew from 22:00 to 05:00, and the use of vehicles is banned from 19:00 to 05:00. The Tunisian Ministry of Health started the COVID-19 vaccination process in March 2021, aiming to vaccinate 20%​​of the population by the end of 2021.?

Key Priorities

23/06/2020

Protection: many migrants in Tunisia fall victim to scams and are subjected to abuse at the hands of smugglers. Other protection concerns for migrants include the risk of deportation and restricted access to services.? Aid agencies estimate that the vast majority of those arriving by land from Libya have suffered abuses and violence and are likely to require psychosocial support.?

Information Gaps

23/06/2020

Tunisia has no severity score in the GCSI due to a lack of data on the humanitarian conditions of migrants countrywide.