The participants reviewed the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) that the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has drafted with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) since 2014 following exchanges with national partners both from local authorities and civil society engaged in rescued at sea operations as well as at Tunisian authorities at central level. The SOPs have been an operational and practical tool since 2015 and used by the Tunisian authorities and other relevant actors. Even though there have not been rescued at sea operations in 2016, it is necessary for the Tunisian authorities, national and international organizations to monitor the situation and to prepare for immediate and effective intervention in case of new arrivals by sea. These acknowledged SOPs will be a very helpful tool for authorities and other actors involved in rescue at sea interventions in order to save lives and to provide humanitarian assistance to refugees and migrants rescued at sea.Yesterday's event brought together representatives from different Tunisian ministries such as Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Defence, Ministry of Social Affairs, Ministry of Transport and Secretariat of State for Immigration and Tunisians Abroad. During this advanced workshop, the participants looked at the challenges of sea arrivals from national and regional perspectives and review the main actors and phases of post disembarkation activities. Discussions and comments about the presented SOPs contributed to enhance and finalise the SOPs.
This workshop was part of series of events on rescue at sea, funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and organised by UNHCR and IOM to support the efforts of the Tunisian authorities. An initial seminar was held in December 2014, a study visit was conducted to Italy in July 2015 and workshops were also organised at the local level in October 2016.
To further cooperation in this area and other fields, UNHCR and IOM will be holding a strategic meeting for North Africa with the attendance of UNHCR and IOM regional directors and country representatives on 1st November 2016 in Tunis. The meeting will be an opportunity to discuss UNHCR and IOM cooperation in North Africa, coordination mechanisms and enhanced predictability of responses in mixed migration situations.
For more information, please contact:
UNHCR – Ms. Zeineb Marzouk, Tel: (+216) 58335120 or Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
IOM – Ms Helene Le Goff Tel: (+216)29252521 or Email: HLEGOFF@iom.int