The ICRC regional delegation in Tunis

15-08-2013 Overview

The Tunis regional delegation covers Tunisia and Morocco/Western Sahara. Its main activities are visits to detainees in Tunisia, dealing with the humanitarian consequences of the Western Sahara conflict, restoring contact between separated families and promoting international humanitarian law.

Detainee welfare

Detainees – and their treatment and conditions – remain a central concern for the delegation. ICRC delegates visit detainees in accordance with our standard operating procedures, and make confidential recommendations to the authorities detailing improvements that may be needed. In 2012, the ICRC visited 17,900 detainees in 27 places of detention in Tunisia.

The ICRC is working to secure longer-term benefits for prisoners, by supporting the authorities’ efforts on long-term reform of the prison system, addressing the problem of overcrowding in particular. In addition, we are supporting training programmes aimed at improving relations between prison staff and inmates.

Maintaining and restoring family links

People living in the countries covered by the delegation are able to maintain contact with relatives detained or interned abroad through Red Cross messages, videoconferences and phone calls. We also offer these services to migrants from other African countries so that they can maintain contact with their relatives. People who have lost touch with relatives can submit tracing requests. This is the case for many people whose relatives are in Iraq, Lebanon and, more recently, Syria.

Consequences of the Western Sahara conflict

The ICRC maintains a dialogue with the Moroccan authorities and the Polisario Front with the aim of clarifying the fate of people still missing from the 1975-1991 Western Sahara conflict. People disabled during that conflict who are living in the Sahrawi refugee camps in south-western Algeria benefit from the ICRC’s limb-fitting and rehabilitation centre, set up in 2007. The centre produces artificial limbs and orthopaedic appliances. In 2012, it provided physical rehabilitation services to 570 Sahrawi refugees.

The ICRC provides technical and financial support for the Moroccan Red Crescent’s annual mine awareness programme, which focuses on the south of the country, and for its micro-projects supporting the families of mine victims.

Promotion of international humanitarian law

Promotion of international humanitarian law (IHL) and incorporation of treaties into national laws is a priority for the ICRC. The delegation holds meetings with such groups as civil servants, judges, the media, universities and civil society in general. It also maintains relations with the region’s armed and security forces, and supports training in the areas of IHL and humanitarian principles.

Support to the region’s Red Crescent Societies

The ICRC helps the region’s national Red Crescent societies to expand their activities, in particular in the field of restoring family links. We are also helping them boost their capacity to respond to violence and other emergencies.



A handicapped Sahrawi man at an ICRC physical rehabilitation centre.
© ICRC / M. Ben Ahmed/ tn-e-00115