Two abandoned newborn twins have been found in an oasis in Kebili.
According to a report by MosaiqueFM, the days-old infants were found on Tuesday morning half-naked and bloody, and were quickly rushed to a nearby medical facility to undergo exams. They are now said to be in a stable condition.
It is unclear who left the twins in the rural town, and locals were said to have been alarmed by the incident, reporter Hana Karous told Tunisia Live. Investigations are being carried out to determine the identity of the parents.
At the time of writing, neither local police or the hospital in Kebili could be reached for comment.
However, numerous medical professionals contacted by Tunisia Live were familiar with similar cases of newborns being abandoned by their birthparents. They said that while instances of children being left outside or in the streets were exceptionally rare, it was somewhat more common for mothers to abandon their newborns in a hospital after giving birth.
According to sociologist Tarek Belhadj Mohamed, this phenomena is likely due to the widespread stigmatization that unmarried women with children face in Tunisian society.
“Women who give birth to children out of wedlock are subject to extreme social hardship,” Belhadj Mohamed told Tunisia Live.
Such women would likely be seen as burden on their families and communities, and unable to find employment or a future spouse. Such marginalization, he added, is only compounded by a lack of comprehensive sexual education.
The National Institute for the Protection of Children, headquartered in Manouba, is responsible for managing all cases involving abandoned or orphaned children. Once abandoned babies are authorized to leave the hospital, they are either placed in a governmental institution, adopted, or paired with a host family, the organization’s website states.
SOS Children’s Villages, a non-governmental international development organization that works on behalf of vulnerable children in Tunisia, estimates that there are around 130,000 orphaned children in Tunisia.
Rahma is preparing a master thesis in Anglo-American studies. She is interested in politics and foreign affairs. Since the outbreak of the Tunisian revolution, she volunteered for several Tunisian associations such as ATIDE, Sawty and others. She writes articles about post-revolution Tunisia.