Following reports of protests and hunger strikes in El Ouardia Detention Centre by detainees demanding their release (see 18 April update), Tunisian civil society organisations have called on authorities to clarify the legal basis for detainees’ continued detention. According to the NGOs, migrants and asylum seekers continue to be arrested and detained in Tunisia, despite the health risks associated with detention.
“All detainees are foreign nationals and are unaware of the legal basis for their detention,” the statement said. The lack of information regarding detainees’ legal situation has, the NGOs added, prompted concerns that persons are being detained arbitrarily, contrary to the Tunisian constitution. “The situation is all the more important for detainees in this period of health crisis caused by the spread of Covid-19. The health risk is indeed greater in detention centres where barriers and social distancing cannot be observed as easily as outside. This risk could increase with the arrival of new detainees, hence the urgency of clarifying the legal status of this centre and of the people deprived of their liberty.”
- FTDES, “Centre El Ouardia, des personnes migrantes privées de leur liberté sans garanties judiciaires,” 29 April 2020, https://ftdes.net/centre-el-ouardia/
- Tunisian civil society organisations have called on authorities to clarify the legal basis for detainees’ continued detention (FTDES, 29 April 2020).