A four-year-old Tunisian girl who arrived in Italy in early October without her parents aboard a makeshift boat carrying illegal migrants was returned to Tunisia on Thursday (November 24), authorities said.
“A Tunisian child protection delegate accompanied the four-year-old girl on her return journey from Italy and handed her over to her family upon arrival at Tunis-Carthage airport,” the Ministry of Women and Family said in a statement. children and seniors.
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The “healthy” girl
The return of this girl “in good health” follows a decision by the Italian judiciary allowing her repatriation at the request of the Tunisian authorities, the ministry added. At the end of October, a diplomatic delegation from Tunisia traveled to Sicily to meet the Italian family judge responsible for the case.
The entire family of this girl – the father, the mother, the little girl and her 7-year-old brother – had planned to embark from the coastal town of Sayada (East) to illegally reach the Italian coast.
During this secret operation, the father had handed his daughter over to the smuggler on the boat to help his wife and son, who were far behind, without realizing that the boat had left for Lampedusa, according to the Tunisian Forum for Economic and Social Rights ( FTDES ), an organization that oversees migration issues.
The girl’s parents, street vendors, were arrested before her release. According to FTDES, between January and August 2022, around 2,600 Tunisian minors, more than two-thirds of whom were unaccompanied by their parents, managed to reach the Italian coast.
Serious economic crisis
Tunisia, whose coast in some places is only 130 km from Sicily, is currently in a serious political and economic crisis with currently four million poor out of almost 12 million inhabitants. This situation leads to mass exodus to Europe.
According to official figures, more than 22,500 migrants, including Tunisians and people from sub-Saharan Africa, have been intercepted off the Tunisian coast since the beginning of the year.
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