More migrant corpses found off Tunisia after boat sinks

FTDES blames EU policies and calls for decent burial

10 June, 16:44

    A boat with migrants in southern Mediterranean Sea A boat with migrants in southern Mediterranean Sea

    TUNIS - So far some 22 corpes have bene found at sea near Kraten off Tunisia's Kerkennah islands after a boat capsized that had been carrying about 53 migrants of reportedly sub-Saharan origins.

    The boat had departed from Sfax over the night between June 4 and 5 in the direction of the Italian coast. Sfax courts official spokesman Mourad Turki said that an investigation would be conducted into the incident and that the Tunisian authorities were continuing to search for survivors, including with the use of diving units. Romdhane Ben Amor from the Tunisian Forum for Economic and Social Rights (FTDES) said in a statement that the number of dead was certainly higher but that the exact number of those trying to cross is not yet known. He added that the FTDES was against attributing the origins of people solely on the basis of the color of their skin since there are Tunisians with black skin as well.

    The statement lashed out at European Union migration policies and asked the Tunisian authorities to treat the victims' bodies with respect by providing them with a decent burial and taking DNA samples in order to insert them into a database accessible to families searching for their loved ones. In May, the Tunisian coast guard blocked 1,243 people who had been prepared to leave the country on clandestine boats for Europe, Ben Amor said, 68% of whom of sub-Saharan origin and 32% Tunisians. This is the highest number since 2011-2012, he said, and more people will die soon unless European migration policies change.

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