Lieux sûrs en méditerranée: Brève présentation de l'étude pour le contexte tunisien

Places of safety in the mediterranean: The EU's policy of outsourcing responsibility

Brief summary of the study for the Tunisian context
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The study assesses whether the disembarkation of migrants and refugees in North African countries by EU state vessels or private NGO rescue vessels complies with international obligations and European law. According to the international law of the sea, persons rescued at sea need to be brought to a “place of safety”. Such a “place of safety” must be a place where the survivors’ life and safety are not under threat, where their basic needs are covered and where they are safe from persecution and chain refoulement. The study finds that Tunisia cannot generally be considered a “place of safety” for migrants and refugees, certainly not for specific vulnerable groups. Therefore, vessels cannot be obliged to disembark rescued migrants and refugees in Tunisia and may refuse orders by the European Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centres (MRCCs).
This brief summary will look into the reasons stated in the study why Tunisia should not be considered as a “place of safety”. It will further reflect some of the main legal definitions and arguments provided by the authors.
The legal analysis of the study can reaffirm Tunisian NGOs and human right defenders in a stronger stance against the EU’s migration and refugee policies. Furthermore, the arguments in the study can be used to convince the EU Member States and the European Commission that their idea of establishing “regional disembarkation platforms” in Tunisia is ill conceived.

[The full study is published under this path]

Product details
Date of Publication
Juillet 2020
Heinrich Böll stiftung Tunisia - Tunis
Number of Pages
Language of publication
Table of contents

Liste des Abréviations / List of Abbreviations

Version Française
I. Qu’est-ce qu’un “lieu sûr” et pourquoi est-ce important ?
II. La Tunisie est-elle un “lieu sûr”?
III. Les navires privés peuvent-ils débarquer les migrants et les réfugiés interceptés dans les États d’Afrique du Nord ?
IV. Les États membres européens peuvent-ils être tenus pour responsables des actions privées ?
V. La responsabilité de coordination peut-elle être transférée aux mandataires?
Courte Biographie des auteures

English Version
I. What is a “Place of Safety” and why does it matter?
II. Is Tunisia a “place of safety”?
III. Can private vessels disembark intercepted migrants and refugees in North African States?
IV. Can European Member States be held responsible for private actions?
V. Can coordination responsibility be shifted to proxies?
Short Biographies of the authors