Tunisians Migrate to Italy in Droves
Tunisians are escaping in boats to Italy and are seeking asylum as political refugees.
This has caused a problem for the EU of how to deal with all the refugees.
It was reported earlier this week that about 4 thousand Tunisian refugees where crossing the Mediterranean Sea in boats, and were landing on the small Italian Island of Lampedusa.
Exiled Tunisians in Stockholm believe some of the Tunisian refugees in Italy are part of the old regime – They are fleeing now because the dictator has left the country.
[Noureddine Chatti, President, Swedish-Tunisian Association]:
“Political refugees do not exist because we don’t have a dictatorship anymore. Probably these refugees are from the old secret police who are trying to escape out of Tunisia. I even heard that they are asking for political asylum.”
Many young Tunisians are without jobs. The tourist industry has collapsed and the lack of jobs makes Tunisians look for work elsewhere.
[Noureddine Chatti, President, Swedish-Tunisian association]:
“Look, it’s already high unemployment in Tunisia before Ben Ali’s was overthrown. After the revolution, tourism has stopped. It’s 4 hundred thousand Tunisians that live off the tourist industry alone, plus all their relatives, so we have over a million people living off it and all of a sudden it stops.”
Even though the situation is fragile now after the revolution, Tunisians feel confident about the future.
They expect that jobs will materialize – along with freedom of speech.
Imed Riahi came to Sweden six years ago and is now a restaurant manager. All his relatives are in Tunisia.
[Imed Riahi, Tunisian Immigrant]:
“I see a good future in Tunisia now because the problems before is that you couldn’t talk politics; you needed contacts to get jobs; but now that is all gone. I noticed the media now speaks out.”
Six months from now Tunisians will hopefully have their first free elections.
NTD News, Stockholm