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Tunisia

    March 26, 2019

    Tunisia’s authorities must not squander the opportunity to ensure justice for thousands of victims of historic human rights violations, said Amnesty International, ahead of the publication of a crucial report by the country’s Truth and Dignity Commission (IVD) tomorrow, 26 March.

    The IVD has investigated more than 62,000 cases of human rights violations in Tunisia dating back decades. A report containing its findings and recommendations will be handed over to the Tunisian civil society in a short ceremony tomorrow afternoon.

    “This is a watershed moment for Tunisia - how the government responds to the report findings will be a crucial test of its genuine commitment to human rights. Tunisia’s authorities must take concrete steps to implement the Truth Commission’s recommendations and finally break the pattern of impunity that has marred human rights progress for decades,” said Fida Hammami, Amnesty International’s Researcher on Tunisia.

    March 15, 2019

    A deeply flawed draft state of emergency law currently being discussed in parliament could grant Tunisian authorities sweeping powers to ban demonstrations and strikes, suspend activities of NGOs, impose arbitrary restrictions on movement of individuals and carry out unwarranted searches of properties based on vague national security grounds, said Amnesty International. A parliamentary debate on the proposed law has started and is expected to go to a vote in the coming weeks.

    The organization is calling on Tunisia’s parliament not to adopt the new bill unless fundamental changes are made to bring it in line with international law and the country’s own constitution.

    “Tunisia has operated under a continuous state of emergency for more than three years. What should be an exceptional temporary state has become the new normal. Tunisia’s authorities should be urgently working to restore full respect for the rule of law – not approving a repressive draft law that will further endanger human rights,” said Magdalena Mughrabi, Deputy Middle East and North Africa Director at Amnesty International.

    February 28, 2019

    The Tunisian government’s attempts to dissolve Shams, a local association that defends the rights of LGBTI people, are a despicable assault on human rights, said Amnesty International, ahead of a court hearing over the organization’s fate tomorrow.

    Tunisian authorities have launched an appeal to overturn a 2016 court ruling which concluded Shams was not in breach of the law, following previous attempts to shut the organization down. The authorities appealed the decision on the grounds that Shams’ stated goals contradict Tunisia’s religious principles and culture.

    December 13, 2018

    As Tunisia’s Truth and Dignity Commission (IVD) nears the end of its mandate, the government must commit to implementing its recommendations in order to ensure that perpetrators of historic human rights violations are brought to justice, victims receive reparation and measures are taken to stop such crimes being repeated, said Amnesty International.

    On 14 and 15 December, after four and a half years, the IVD - which has investigated more than 62,000 cases of human rights violations dating back six decades - is due to deliver its main findings and recommendations at a conference with key stakeholders from government and civil society. Its final report will be delivered by the end of the year. A final IVD public hearing about propaganda and media manipulation before Tunisia’s 2011 uprising is also scheduled for 14 December. 

    November 06, 2018

    Responding to the news that Tunis’ Administrative Court spokesperson has stated that border control measures imposed on thousands of people in the name of security, known as S17 measures, should be considered illegal, Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Director Heba Morayef said:

    “Yesterday’s statement from judge Imed Ghabri, spokesperson of the Administrative Court finally acknowledges that the arbitrary and discriminatory manner in which S17 travel restrictions are often imposed is unlawful. This is a significant step forward for all those who have campaigned against the way S17 measures are being applied.

    February 22, 2018
    Amnesty International publishes State of the World’s Human Rights report for 2017 to 2018 “Last year our world was immersed in crises, with prominent leaders offering us a nightmarish vision of a society blinded by hatred and fear. This emboldened those who promote bigotry, but it inspired far more people to campaign for a more hopeful future,” says Salil Shetty, head of Amnesty International

    The world is reaping the terrifying consequences of hate-filled rhetoric that threatens to normalize massive discrimination against marginalized groups, Amnesty International warned today as it launched its annual assessment of human rights.

    Nevertheless, the organization found that a growing movement of both first-time and seasoned activists campaigning for social justice provides real hope of reversing the slide towards oppression.

    The report, The State of the World’s Human Rights, covers 159 countries and delivers the most comprehensive analysis of the state of human rights in the world today.

    July 13, 2017
      A bill on the agenda for discussion in Tunisia’s parliament today could bolster impunity for security forces by granting them immunity from prosecution for unnecessary use of lethal force as well as potentially criminalizing criticism of police conduct, said Amnesty International today.   The proposed law, known as the “Repression of attacks against armed forces” bill, would authorize security forces to use lethal force to protect property even when it is not strictly necessary to protect life, contrary to international standards. It would exempt security forces from criminal liability in such cases if the force used is deemed “necessary and proportionate”. The bill was first proposed by the government to parliament in April 2015 and was reintroduced at the demand of police unions.  
    June 13, 2017

    The conviction of five people for the charge of “public indecency” after smoking a cigarette or eating in public during the month of Ramadan is a clear violation of individual freedoms in Tunisia, said Amnesty International.

    In the latest incident, a man was sentenced to one month in jail for “public indecency” in the town of Bizerte, northwest of Tunis, for smoking outside a courthouse on 12 June. A day earlier, dozens of protesters took to the streets in Tunis to demand their right not to fast during Ramadan. He is the fifth man to be sentenced by the same court to a jail term for breaking his fast during Ramadan this month. Four other men were sentenced to one month in prison after eating in public on 1 June.

    May 26, 2017

    Key legislative amendments approved by the Tunisian Parliament this week are a positive step towards ending some of the discriminatory and disproportionate restrictions on freedom of movement in Tunisia, said Amnesty International.

    The changes to the 1975 Law on Passports, passed on 23 May, include new provisions requiring that reasons are provided for decisions to impose travel bans or withdraw passports, that people affected by a travel ban are informed of the decision promptly, and guaranteeing that they have the right to challenge the decision. The law also limits travel bans to a maximum of 14 months in all circumstances, after which the ban has to be lifted.

    “The draft law adopted this week is a positive development that will help lift some arbitrary restrictions on the right of individuals in Tunisia to travel outside of the country and grants them the right to challenge such restrictions,” said Heba Morayef, North Africa research director at Amnesty International.

    “Parliament should now go further and review the arbitrary application of orders by the Ministry of Interior which restrict freedom of movement inside the country.”

    May 02, 2017

    The Tunisian government must demonstrate its commitment to human rights by accepting recommendations on combating torture, ending discrimination and protecting women and girls from sexual and gender based violence, said Amnesty International.

    The Tunisian government received recommendations from more than 50 states at the country’s third Universal Periodic Review by the UN Human Rights Council today.

    Tunisia has made some progress on opening up political and civil space and some legislative reforms have been introduced, the security sector has remained largely unchanged and in recent years there has been a resurgence of violations committed with impunity,” said Heba Morayef, North Africa Research Director at Amnesty International.

    March 17, 2016

    As Tunisia prepares to extend a nationwide state of emergency on 22 March, Amnesty International has highlighted the government’s disproportionate and repressive use of emergency laws to trample on human rights.

    On 7 March armed men attacked military bases and a police station in the southern town of Ben Guerdane on the border with Libya. The attack and ensuing clashes killed around 68 people, including at least seven civilians and 12 security officers. This is the latest in a spate of deadly attacks in Tunisia over the past few months, which has prompted authorities to place scores of people under assigned residence orders, restricting their movements to specific areas, as part of measures that are, in some cases, excessive and discriminatory.

    January 13, 2016

    Posted at 0001hrs GMT  14 January 2015

    New evidence of deaths in custody and torture collected by Amnesty International suggests that brutal repression is on the rise again in Tunisia exactly five years after the toppling of the previous authoritarian regime by the “Jasmine Revolution”, which sparked a wave of uprisings across the Middle East and North Africa.

    During a visit to Tunisia in December last year, Amnesty International collected information about deaths in police custody as well as allegations of torture carried out in the course of police interrogations.

    “Five years ago Tunisians rose up and threw off the shackles of authoritarianism. Torture and repression were hallmarks of former President Ben-Ali’s regime; they must not be allowed to become defining features of post-uprising Tunisia,” said Said Boumedouha, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa Program.

    December 17, 2015

    Five years since fruit-seller Mohamed Bouazizi sparked wide-ranging protests in Tunisia and the wider region after setting himself alight in protest at police harassment in the town of Sidi Bouzid, ongoing human rights violations across the region are increasingly reminiscent of repressive and abusive measures of the past, Amnesty International warned today.

    In a fact sheet published today Amnesty International gives a brief overview of human rights developments in the countries where there were uprisings five years ago.

    “Many dared to hope that the ‘Arab Spring’, as it became known, would augur real change in the relationship between the rulers and those they ruled – greater power-sharing, social justice, transparency, accountability, and greater respect for human rights. The reality is that across the region, conflict and harsh repression remain the order of the day,” said Philip Luther, Amnesty International’s Director of the Middle East and North Africa Programme.

    December 02, 2015

    Security forces have carried out scores of arrests and detentions in the wake of last week’s suicide attack in central Tunis, in a troubling sign that the authorities are reverting to repressive and abusive measures, said Amnesty International.

    The organization spoke to residents who suffered a series of night time raids by security forces wearing balaclavas and carrying rifles, who stormed homes in the La Goulette district of Tunis threatening residents, including women children and the elderly, at gunpoint and arresting dozens of people in the early hours of 27 November.

    “The Tunisian authorities must protect the population, investigate attacks on civilians, and bring perpetrators to justice. However, they must not trample over human rights by subjecting terrified families to heavy-handed home raids, and conducting mass arbitrary arrests and detentions ,” said Said Boumedouha, Deputy Director of Amnesty International’s Middle East  and North Africa Program.

    November 26, 2015

    By Sara Hashash, Amnesty International's MENA Press Officer, in Tunis.

    After the suicide attack on a bus carrying presidential guards in central Tunis last night, life in the capital seemed to return to normal today. The streets were full of people heading to work, children on their way to school and crowds of commuters packed into the green trams crisscrossing the bustling streets. 

    But there’s no doubt that yesterday’s bombing, which killed at least 12 members of the security forces and injured 20, in the heart of the capital has shaken Tunisia to its core. The attack was the first of its kind targeting security forces on one of the city’s main thoroughfares, close to ministerial buildings, at the height of rush hour. In a sombre address to the nation last night, President Beji Caid Essebsi declared a state of emergency lasting 30 days, for a second time this year. A nightly curfew was imposed in the capital until further notice. 

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