201 Shousha Camp Refugees to Be Resettled in Germany
Sunday, September 02, 2012-One hundred and ninety five refugees currently living in the Shousha camp – located in Ben Guerdane, in southern Tunisia – are going to be resettled in Germany next Monday, September 3, with six more refugees planned to be resettled shortly thereafter.
According to a press communiqué released by the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), 200 refugees will undergo resettlement. That number of refugees has increased to 201, however, as one of the female refugees delivered a child a week ago.
“The majority [of individuals being resettled] are single men aged 18-35, and there are also 20 families and three unaccompanied minors. The German Federal Bureau interviewed 264 refugees before giving its final decision about the resettlement. They only accepted 200 refugees, which increased to 201, due to the birth of a child,” said Hala Alhorani, a field officer for the UNHCR.
Although 201 refugees will eventually make their way to Germany, only 195 will be leaving this Monday. “Six people were forced to postpone their departure for medical reasons. They will be sent after getting the right medical treatment – along with the woman and her baby – after maybe a month or two. The 195 refugees are going to leave Shousha camp on Sunday night and will leave for Germany at 2 a.m. from Djerba to Hanover,” said Alhorani.
According to the press release from the UNHCR, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) has arranged for a private flight to take refugees from the Djerba airport to Hanover. IOM will also organize the transfer of the refugees from Shousha to the Djerba airport.
The largest number of refugees who will be resettled to Germany are from Sudan (Darfur), Somalia, Eritrea and Ethiopia. According to Alhorani, 2,000 refugees are planned to be sent to the United States. She also mentioned that around 250 refugees are not going to be resettled as their situation does not fit the resettlement law.
Alhorani mentioned that the UNHCR determined December 1 of last year as a cut-off point for refugees coming from Libya. “There are those who came to the Shousha camp after the December 1 last year, when the normalcy was restored in Libya. We accepted them in the camp, but this makes them ineligible for the resettlement program. We were obliged to fix a deadline because we were afraid that some other people from other countries who would like to be resettled would try to join the refugees in the camp,” explained Alhorani.
“But, some of those who came after the deadline can be interviewed. We can make an individual assessment for them, and they can still be resettled,” she reassured.
The German resettlement program also included 100 Iraqi refugees in Turkey.
“Generally, countries who accept refugees’ resettlement will target specific groups – sometimes women, and sometimes religious groups who may have their safety threatened. But the situation within Tunisia is very different. No one among the refugees was endangered. In Tunisia, no minority or group has been prioritized to be resettled for security reasons, or for any other reason,” Alhorani commented.
Alhorani concluded that measures need to be taken to help those who remain in Shousha camp. “We wish that more massive efforts could be undertaken to resettle the rest of the refugees. We are banking on the generosity of the Tunisian government to find a radical solution for these refugees. No matter how much we provide these refugees, even with the best equipment, the camp remains a camp.”
Source: Tunisia Live