Lack of adequate care and frustration over absence of resettlement plans prompt attempted suicides, refugees say.
Last Monday night, 16-year-old Nato* slit his wrists and was rushed to the local hospital in Medenine.
He had decided to end his life in a refugee facility run by the UN’s refugee agency, the UNHCR, in Medenine. After running for two years, escaping Eritrea and near-certain conscription into the country’s army, making it through Sudan, Egypt and Libya, he had reached Tunisia and despair.
A few days later, Nato was transferred to a psychiatric hospital in Sfax, 210km north of Medenine, where he was kept on lockdown and was frustrated that he was not able to communicate with anyone in the facility.
Nato’s isn’t the only story of despair among refugees in Tunisia. A female refugee was taken to hospital after drinking bleach, while a 16-year-old unaccompanied young girl tried to escape over the borders to Libya, but was stopped at Ben Gardane. […]
Refugee lives in suspension
Nato, as well as a number of refugee minors Al Jazeera spoke to, arrived in Tunisia over the Libyan border with the help of smugglers. The same is true for hundreds of refugees escaping Libya.
Tunisia registered more than 1,000 refugees and 350 asylum seekers, mainly from Syria, Eritrea, Sudan and Somalia.
But the country has neither the capacity nor the means to host refugees, and because it doesn’t have a coherent asylum system, the refugees find themselves living a largely suspended life.
Officially, refugees are not allowed to work and, therefore, there is no formal system of protection for those that do work. […]
„Driven to suicide in Tunisia’s UNHCR refugee shelter“