Houcine Jaziri, Secretary of State for Immigration and Tunisians Abroad, whom we met at a seminar on migration, said we are making progress in the issue of immigration. However, much remains to be done to meet this challenge.
What follow-up was given to the issue of immigration, two years after the Revolution?
Two years to put a country in a track that is completely transitional, this requires a long and hard work.
Two years is still a short period. We need years and years to find back the personality and a democratic process that is really the process of human rights, still unfinished. We still work, but I can tell you that I am satisfied with the minimum of human rights in Tunisia.
In the case of immigration, I can tell you that this is an issue that is moving forward. Of course, there are national and multilateral partnerships, especially with European countries. However, much remains to be done and a great effort should be made. This is only the beginning, and as you know, the beginning is always the hardest thing.
And what about the issue of illegal immigrants, about which there is much controversy, especially with the protests of several families who want to have clear information on the situation of their relatives?
Political work is never perfect or ideal. There is always something missing. Criticism is obvious, but I am convinced that we did everything possible to find the missing.
Unfortunately, the results are negative. The families of the missing may not be aware that there is also a work of justice and efforts to make. The administration is still there, if there are other paths to open or other ways to go. We’re here to do everything possible whether with families or members of the civil society.
In addition, this is not a closed case for us. Instead, it is a humanitarian issue and a history that will judge. We have hundreds of youth missing or dead. This is not a detail in our history.
Can you give us the number of missing persons identified by the department?
They are less than two thousands among missing and dead for years. Today, I have a list that does not exceed 500.
To encourage the return of illegal immigrants, some countries have provided incentives. Can you talk about that?
Tunisia is the birthplace of the Tunisians. Normally, they have to find jobs in this country. If there is a crisis in Germany, Italy and other European countries, I can assure you that the Tunisian immigrants are the first victims of these socio-economic conditions.
This is why Tunisia must find jobs for its citizens to end this scourge.
Switzerland is a country that has expressed its willingness to support the return of young immigrants who faced problems during their stay in Switzerland. Can you give us some clarification?
Indeed, 400 Tunisians returned from Switzerland. There is a plan of action and work. We’re working with Switzerland to encourage these young people. Recently, I was in Sfax, there were workshops in collaboration with the business centers of Sfax and the private sector.
It is important to remember that the Swiss government has encouraged illegal immigrants who were experiencing problems to return to their country by providing a return travel assistance to help them create new projects.
A Swiss delegation came last Thursday, to this end, with a budget of one million dinars. It is for this reason that we are called to promote this initiative by strengthening public-private partnership.