Amnesty International is today calling on the Tunisian authorities to rescind permissions to "shoot on sight", after a wave of protests led to the reported departure from the country of President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and a state of emergency imposed. Amnesty International’s investigative team in Tunisia has reported media broadcasts warning that gatherings of more than three people will not be tolerated, and that anyone breaking the curfew exposes themselves to the risk of being shot. After the announcement, the team reported hearing shots.
“It is simply irresponsible to grant the power to ‘shoot on sight',” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Deputy Director of the Middle East and North Africa Programme, “It is not by continuing to shoot demonstrators that public order will be restored. The bloody crackdown must end."
This power appears to grant official sanction to the Tunisian security forces to commit extrajudicial executions – in violation of Article 6 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which guarantees the right to life and prohibits arbitrary deprivation of life.