In response to the request of nearly 500 migrant and refugee organizations, the PPT held five hearings in Europe between July 2017 and December 2018. The organization of a PPT in Tunis is the continuation of the continuity of the denunciation process initiated by these European sessions, but also the continuity of the "migration dynamics" initiated by the FSMagh since its creation. The Tunis PPT organizing committee intends to pursue this dynamic by including it in a strong event of free expression, testimony, awareness and prosecution. The main objective of the Tunis PPT is to identify and judge the chain of co-responsibility which causes all the violations of migrants’ rights throughout their trajectories in the Maghreb and their extensions in Africa and Europe.
The sessions of Barcelona, Palermo and recently Paris demonstrated the relevance of the PPT, a court of opinion for the rights of peoples, to problematize the political, social, economic and psychosocial issues related to migration. The Tunis session wishes to continue this work and open up perspectives to improve the living conditions of migrants in the Maghreb. Since 2011, the Maghreb States no longer constitute only an area of emigration to Europe but also a real area of immigration and transit for migrants, the majority of whom are from sub-Sahara. Despite some progress in the recognition and respect of migrants’ rights in the region, many cases of violations of all kinds are constantly highlighted and denounced by human rights associations such as the FMAS and the FTDES.
For this reason, in line with its work on the missing at sea since 2011, the FTDES Initiative for Migration Justice Department wishes to make the offense of solidarity occurring in the Mediterranean sea since that date one of the main issues of the PPT. Cases of administrative and judicial blockages of rescues of migrants by humanitarian or commercial vessels are increasing in the Mediterranean Sea. The latest, the Egyptian tugboat called Maridive 601, has been blocked during 20 days off Zarzis with 75 migrants on board (half of which are minors). The increasingly restrictive and criminalizing policy of the European Union and the Maghreb governments towards rescuing migrants at sea is an essential point of the accusation of the Tunis PPT which must be highlighted during the trial thanks to various testimonies. Also, civil society’s awareness of this issue should not depend on a fragmented and catastrophist media agenda that promote a security approach. The Tunis PPT organization must become one of the priorities on the political agenda of the various Maghreb, European and sub-Saharan social movements mobilized to defend the migrants’ rights.
The organization of the Tunis PPT is a special event for several reasons. First, it is the first PPT session ever held in the Maghreb region. Secondly, it brings together social movements, personalities and migrants from all over the region. The creation of a Maghreb expert committee to draft the indictment for the session is a challenge in itself. Thanks to its cultural diversity (legal experts from 5 different countries), this committee will be able to highlight the differences and convergences of each Maghreb State in terms of migration policy through a common mobilization. Finally, the exceptional nature of this event is reinforced by the convergence of the Middle-East and North Africa recent history with the individual and collective histories of a considerable number of migrants.
The persistent mobilization of the Algerian people and the participation of Libyans and Mauritanians in the organization of the Tunis PPT session also give this common project its full meaning.