Families of jailed Tunisian opposition politicians on June 26th dismissed an aid package offered to Tunis by the European Union as “shortsighted and counterproductive”, warning the money would not help the north African country stop migration, Reuters reports. Speaking at a press conference with other children of jailed figures, Yusra Ghannouchi, the daughter of jailed opposition leader Rached Ghannouchi, said the deals the EU is making with the government of President Kais Saied would only serve to prop up his regime, which she accused of human rights violations.
“Kais Saied has created these problems. It is the state of multiple crises and despair in Tunisia that is feeding migrations,” she said.
Saied shut down parliament, dismissed the government in July 2021 and moved to rule by decree, saying the moves were needed to save the country from corruption. Critics called his actions a coup. In February 2023 he accused some detained opposition politicians and critics of being responsible for price increases and food shortages, and of wanting to fuel a social crisis.
The EU this month offered Tunisia a 105-million-euros package to help it tackle a big rise in migrant departures, develop its battered economy and rescue state finances.
The departures soared after Saied announced a crackdown on sub-Saharan migrants in February, using language the African Union denounced as racialised.
The families of jailed opposition figures called the press conference in The Hague to also call on the International Criminal Court to look into alleged widespread human rights abuses in Tunisia which is a member of the court.
Earlier this year a crackdown by Tunisian judges detained more than 20 political, judicial, media and business figures with opposition ties. Many were jailed and accused of plotting against state security.