A four-year-old Tunisian girl who arrived in Italy in early October without her parents on a makeshift boat carrying illegal immigrants was deported back to Tunisia on Thursday, authorities said.
“A Tunisian delegate for the protection of minors accompanied the four-year-old girl on the return journey from Italy and handed her over to the family upon their arrival at the Tunis-Carthage airport”the Ministry of Women, Family, Children and the Elderly said in a press release.
The return of this little girl, ” in good health “ it comes after an Italian court decision allowing his repatriation, at the request of Tunisian authorities, the ministry added.
A Tunisian diplomatic delegation traveled to Sicily in late October to meet the Italian family court judge in charge of this case.
This little girl’s whole family – the father, mother, little girl and 7-year-old brother – had planned to embark from the coastal town of Sayada (east) to reach the Italian coast clandestinely.
The girl’s parents were taken into custody
During this clandestine operation, the father had handed his daughter over to the smuggler on the boat to help his wife and son left far behind, not realizing that the boat had left for Lampedusa, according to the Tunisian Forum for Economic and Social Rights (FTDES). , an organization that monitors migration issues.
The girl’s parents, street vendors, were taken into custody before being released.
According to the FTDES, around 2,600 Tunisian minors, of which more than two-thirds unaccompanied by their parents, managed to reach Italian shores between January and August 2022.
Tunisia, some stretches of coast of which are only 130 km from Sicily, is going through a serious political and economic crisis with by now four million poor people out of almost 12 million inhabitants. This situation is accelerating mass departures to Europe.
More than 22,500 migrants, including Tunisians and sub-Saharans, have been intercepted off the coast of Tunisia since the beginning of the year, according to official figures.