Interrupted Sea

Collection of testimonies (2021-2023)

Migrant boats on Beliana beach. Photo: anonymous

On this World Refugee Day, transnational civil society is mobilising to denounce the murderous and racist policies in the Mediterranean!

Based on testimonies gathered by various actors of Tunisian and transnational civil society, this report documents the interception practices of the Tunisian National Guard in the Central Mediterranean. The data collected, based on 14 in-depth interviews conducted between 2021 and 2023 with exiled people who survived attacks at sea, highlight violent and illegal practices, ranging from non-assistance, to manoeuvres intentionally aimed at capsizing boats in distress, causing shipwrecks and costing the lives of many exiled people. 

This brutalisation by the Tunisian border authorities, which has now been documented for several years, is taking place against a backdrop of increasing border outsourcing policies by the European Union and its member states. Faced with an increase in traffic on the Tunisian maritime route from 2021 onwards, and in the hope of limiting the number of crossings, the EU has considerably increased its support for Tunisian security forces, setting up a “refoulement by proxy” regime, following the example of its cooperation with Libyan militias. 

The fruit of a collective effort involving Alarm Phone and numerous actors from Tunisian civil society, for security reasons in the current context of criminalisation and repeated attacks on people and organisations in solidarity with migrants in Tunisia, it has been deemed preferable not to mention the latter.  

In the face of repression, the publication of this report thus sounds like a promise – the promise that, whatever the attempts at intimidation, solidarity will continue to express itself unabated. 

Together, we will continue to document the violent practices of the Tunisian coastguard and all other authorities involved in interception and refoulement in the Mediterranean, and violations of rights at sea. 

Together, we denounce this repressive mobility control regime and the outsourcing policies that enable and encourage it.

Together, we are defending an open Mediterranean, based on solidarity and respect for the freedom of movement of all!

Read the full report below. 


  • Interrupted sea - EN - 06 2024