Tunisian migrants in France, homeless and struggling to return to their native Tunisia, stumbled upon thousands of pages of archives from the former ruling party while trying to find shelter. Al-Jazeera English has reported according to its sources that the migrants found two rooms in a building known as a Tunisian cultural center that was filled with photos, correspondence, financial records, lists of party members for the Rally for Constitutional Democracy (RCD) in France, information on Tunisian dissidents, along with files on French political figures and journalists. It is now being said that the building used to belong to Ben Ali’s now disbanded political party, the RCD.
The Tunisian migrants have been forced to scatter under continuing police pressure. After their eviction, the group moved to the Buttes Chaumount Park across the street from the building. There, they faced daily visits from the police. Their case is but one example of how the French government’s approach to the unprecedented influx of migrants has been to turn up the repression, activists say. This is happening despite a 2008 agreement signed between President Nicolas Sarkozy and Ben Ali, under which France agreed to offer assistance to 9,000 Tunisian migrants a year to help them return home.
As for the archive, Paul Da Silva, a French activist who lobbies for freedom of information, says that the documents contain explosive revelations about French ties with the former regime’s leading figures. For lawyers and activists, the document stash in Paris gives them a second chance to comb through the RCD’s activities…