More than 2,000 Tunisian youngsters this year have made the perilous Mediterranean crossing from the North African country to Italy to seek a better life, a rights group said Wednesday.
The Tunisian Forum for Economic and Social Rights (FTDES) said the minors were among a total of 10,139 Tunisian migrants to have made it to Italy since the start of 2022.
More than 14,700 migrants, including many from sub-Saharan African nations, have been intercepted and turned back over the same period, FTDES said.
Deprivation driven by a deep socioeconomic crisis “make the dangers of the sea a secondary factor for those migrants who dream of a better life for themselves and their children,” FTDES said.
It also deplored “the inhumane politics of the European Union, which constrains the freedom of movement” of migrants.
Earlier this month, an unemployed Tunisian teacher and her four-year-old son drowned off the coast of Monastir, prompting an outpouring of national grief.
More than 650 would-be migrants, including hundreds of Tunisians, were intercepted in just one weekend earlier this month, according to the interior ministry.
Some four million people live below the poverty line in Tunisia.
Divisions have been sharpened by a power grab by President Kais Saied, who last year suspended a fractious parliament and has since ruled by decree.
Italy is a favored destination for migrants seeking to cross from North Africa to Europe as one of the closest nations. Attempted crossings usually rise during summer, when seas are calmer.
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