United States Committee for Refugees and Immigrants, U.S. Committee for Refugees World Refugee Survey 1998 - Tunisia, 1 January 1998, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/3ae6a8bd34.html [accessed 4 March 2015]
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At the end of 1996, about 300 refugees and asylum seekers from various countries were known to be in Tunisia. However, it was likely that a larger number of persons in Tunisia, especially Algerians and Palestinians, could be considered to be refugees or living in refugee-like conditions. Although Tunisia has signed the UN Refugee Convention and Protocol, it has no specific legal mechanisms to deal with refugees. Under a 1992 working agreement between UNHCR and the Tunisian government, UNHCR received authority to accept and determine applications for refugee status, although the government has maintained authority over who is permitted to remain in the country and for what period of time. UNHCR has attempted to identify resettlement opportunities for refugees. At the end of 1996, 131 recognized refugees and 207 asylum seekers were registered with UNHCR in Tunisia. During 1996, UNHCR recognized 21 cases as mandate refugees. Denmark resettled two refugee cases from Tunisia during the year. The U.S. Department of State reported that Tunisia deported several refugees during 1996, but that none were "forced to return to countries where they feared persecution." UNHCR reported that it was aware of two cases involving persons deported to Libya on the basis of their earlier residence or stay in that country. One was a recognized mandate refugee; the other was an asylum seeker whose case was still under consideration. During 1996, about 1,000 Eritrean and Ethiopian refugees repatriated from Libya via Tunisia because of an international air embargo against Libya.