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Although Tunisia is often presented as an Arab Spring success story in terms of democratic change, many of the political, social and economic grievances that existed before the ‘Jasmine Revolution’ of 2011 persist.
Tunisia is both a transit and destination country for migrants and refugees, and arrival numbers have increased significantly in recent years. A large majority transit through Libya into Medenine Governorate in Tunisia’s south, where conflict, violence and border policy contributes to increased fragility among migrants.
Protection issues among migrants include access to legal documentation, access to livelihood opportunities, access to education, and exclusion from their surrounding environment. Abusive smuggling practices and trafficking are key concerns, especially in the Libyan/Tunisian borderlands. Without adequate protection, migrants, refugees, and asylum-seekers in Tunisia are extremely vulnerable to exploitation and abuse.
The growth of extremist groups in Tunisia, particularly in Kasserine Governorate, is another important feature of post-revolution society, and these groups represent a serious threat to domestic security, as seen in the 2015 suicide attacks in Tunis and Sousse.
DRC has been working in Tunisia since 2011 as part of a coordinated Libya-Tunisia program responding to regional instability following the Arab Spring revolutions. From 2011-2013, DRC provided a large range of services to third-country refugees fleeing persecution in neighbouring Libya; most of these refugees have since been resettled in the USA, Canada and Germany.
In 2014, DRC returned to Tunisia through the Danish Demining Group (DDG), a specialist unit within DRC that seeks to protect communities through the reduction of risks associated with weapons and armed violence. In early 2018, DDG expanded operations into the neighboring Libyan cities of Zuwara, Nalut, and Wazin, promoting holistic border management. To that end, DDG has established Conflict Management Committees (CMCs) in each town. These committees prevent violence and increase border region stability through expanded cross-border exchange and conflict management.