Minister of State Katja Keul issued the following statement today (8 August 2023) prior to her departure for Tunis:
Tunisia is an immediate neighbour of the EU – Tunis and Sicily are not much further apart than Berlin and Hamburg. Since the revolution in 2011, Germany has stood closely by the Tunisian people in their efforts for democracy, the rule of law and human rights. When food prices rocketed in Tunisia last year as a result of the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine, we provided rapid and efficient assistance.
However, we see some developments in Tunisia as a cause for concern. Since February, growing numbers of opposition politicians, media professionals and civil society activists have been detained. These critical voices must not be allowed to fall silent in Tunisia. I am thus particularly looking forward to the talks that I will hold with representatives of Tunisian civil society during my visit.
The latest reports on the situation of refugees and migrants in Tunisia are shocking. For the German Government, there is no question that bilateral and European cooperation with Tunisia in the field of migration is tied to the observance of humanitarian standards and the human rights of refugees and migrants. It is important to me to gain a clearer image of the circumstances facing refugees and migrants by talking to them in person. Amongst all of the political debates, we must not forget the human beings who are at the heart of this.
The Minister of State at the Federal Foreign Office, Katja Keul, is visiting Tunis (Tunisia) from 8 to 11 August.
While she is there she will meet with representatives of the government, parliament and civil society to discuss German-Tunisian relations. These talks will focus in particular on developments in the field of democracy, the rule of law and human rights, as well as refugee and migration issues. Minister of State Keul will also visit accommodation managed by the UN Refugee Agency and talk to refugees and migrants there. Another key focus of the talks will be Tunisia’s precarious financial and economic situation and the importance of an IMF reform programme.