(MENAFN) Four human rights organizations, including Amnesty International, EuroMed Rights, Human Rights Watch, and the International Commission of Jurists, have written a letter urging EU foreign ministers to put pressure on Tunisia to end its crackdown on government critics at upcoming talks. The organizations have called on the ministers to not contribute to the “ongoing undermining of human rights and of the independence of the judiciary” in the North African country.
Following an EU Parliament vote to condemn the activities in Tunisia on March 16, the four groups asked EU members to “press the Tunisian government… to halt the ongoing crackdown on dissent, and repeal or amend all laws that criminalize the legitimate exercise of free speech and freedom of association.”
Hussein Baoumi, Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa advocacy officer, has stated that “EU leaders must ensure that their cooperation with the Tunisian authorities, especially with the Ministry of Justice, does not contribute to undermining the rule of law even further, and EU leaders should call on the Tunisian authorities to release all lawyers, politicians, journalists, activists and any others who have been arbitrarily detained.”
ICJ Director Said Benarbia has emphasized the need to protect the right to a fair trial, stating that “Tunisian authorities must immediately stop their systematic interference in the judiciary and reverse all decisions that have undermined judicial independence, including by reinstating those judges who were summarily dismissed.” He has also urged authorities to stop trying civilians before military courts and ensure that the courts do not become a tool of repression.
Philippe Dam, EU director at HRW, has stated that “In the past few weeks, President Kais Saied’s government has rounded up opponents, curbed judicial independence, crushed freedom of expression, and incited hatred against African migrants.” The human rights organizations are calling on EU foreign ministers to take a stand against these actions and pressure Tunisia to end its crackdown on dissent.
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