Tunis — The United Nations Special Rapporteur on Human Rights of Migrants François Crépeau has called on the European Union (EU) to direct its partnership with Tunisia towards setting up "regular migration routes," according to a communiqué released, on Wednesday, by the United Nations Information Centre in Tunis.
At the end of his visit in Tunisia (June 3-8, 2012) the UN expert pointed out that the EU's regional migration initiatives still focus on border control.
He called for the establishment of real partnership with the Tunisian authorities, for the respect and promotion of the immigrants' rights.
In this communiqué, Mr. Crépeau urged the EU member states to exert greater efforts in their search for 300 Tunisians lost at sea in attempting to leave illegally their country for Europe. He also called on these states to take all the required measures to rescue the immigrants in distress.
Besides, the UN special rapporteur voiced wish that the illegal border-crossing not any longer be considered as a criminal offence in Tunisia, reminding of the absence of a clearly defined status of refugee.
During his visit, Crépeau visited the Zarzis port and the Ras Jedir border-crossing point, as well as the detention centres of immigrants and the Shusha refugee camp. He met with the representatives of government, civil society and international organisations, as well as immigrants in Tunisia.