(TAP) - Tunisia is in the process of concluding agreements with African countries to encourage the voluntary return of irregular migrants, said Secretary of State to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Migration and Tunisians Abroad, Mounir Ben Rjiba.

He noted that the number of requests for repatriation is constantly increasing, deportations are on the rise and so are operations to thwart attempts at irregular migration.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs outlined the national strategy to combat irregular migration, based on coordination between various parties, including European countries and international organisations, during a hearing on irregular migration held on Thursday by the parliamentary Committee on Foreign Relations, International Cooperation, Tunisians Abroad and Migration.

He explained that Tunisia is faced with the phenomenon of irregular migration due to its strategic location and proximity to the European area.

He referred to the international circumstances that have contributed to the spread of this phenomenon, in particular the political and security situation in a number of African countries and the decline in the role of some countries in curbing the phenomenon of irregular migration and combating human trafficking.

Ben Rjiba also highlighted Tunisia's constants in dealing with the phenomenon of irregular migration and Tunisia's adherence to its international commitments based on respect for human rights, without becoming a guard of Europe's southern borders.

He stressed the need to address the root causes of migration and to consider different solutions to reduce this phenomenon.

For their part, the MPs noted in their remarks that the situation had become alarming in terms of security, social and health issues.

They called for a more effective strategy and the “urgent closure of the land borders in order to deal with foreigners inside Tunisia and to put an end to massive arrivals.”

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