02. November 2014 · Kommentare deaktiviert für Tunesien, Lager Choucha: Reportage · Kategorien: Tunesien · Tags:

Transterra Media

Last Refugees in Choucha, Tunisia

The UNHCR Choucha Refugee Camp opened in 2011, just seven kilometres away from the Tunisia-Libya border crossing of Ras Ajdir, to help the thousands of people fleeing the conflict in Libya. Most of the those who fled in 2011 returned home but some 4,000 could not go back for fear of persecution. These individuals were granted refugee status by the UNHCR and took refuge in the Choucha Camp. Tunisia did not – and still does not – consider applicants for refugee status. According to UNHCR, most of the refugees from Choucha have already been taken by the United States (1,717) and Norway (485). The EU has been fairly strict on resettlement; Germany took the most refugees at 201, Britain took three, Italy two and France one.

However, some still remain as they have nowhere else to go.

The Choucha camp was officially closed in June 2013, but approximately one hundred refugees still remain there. They insisted on remaining in the camp after it was closed despite the fact that all UNHCR food, water, and medical services were cut-off on June 30. 260 of the camp’s inhabitants, categorized as “rejected asylum seekers,” now find themselves in a dire situation. Falling outside of the UNHCR’s mandate, they are not entitled to the integration services that the organization offers to refugees and asylum seekers. The last time that the rejected asylum seekers here received food distribution aid was in October 2012. One of them is Bright O Samson, who is fighting against eviction from the camp, and is demanding resettlement to a safe third country with effective system of asylum seeker protection. Ismail is from Sudan and he fled to Libya in 2003 due to the war in his country. There, he found peace and a job as a mechanic, but the 2011 uprising forced him to leave again and cross the border into Tunisia. With no official structure supporting them, Ismail and other refugees from Chad, Ghana, Sudan, Liberia, and many other African countries, say they feel like they’ve been totally abandoned.

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