A heat wave has rolled over Tunis on 1 June 2022, and the air is heavy, suffocating. But this has not dissuaded dozens of refugees and asylum seekers from carrying on with their sit-in outside the headquarters of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). A river of bodies spills onto either side of the street in this swanky neighborhood of the capital called Berges du Lac 1. Some protesters, their faces glimmering with beads of sweat, brandish posters and call out for « protection », « rights », « peace » and « resettlement ».

From Zarzis to Tunis, fingers are pointed at the UNHCR

From 15 April – 18 June 2022, hundreds of migrants camped out in make-shift tents erected using sheets of plastic and blankets spread across the sidewalk. Mattresses and squares of cardboard set atop the asphalt served as beds and pillows. Most of the sit-inners were young. Some played games under the shade of a garage. The elderly, women and children remained inside their tents. A number of kids kept busy on smartphones as women sat, absently looking on.