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Tunisia Rights Activists Urge New President to Abolish Death Penalty, End State of Emergency

Tunisia Rights Activists Urge New President to Abolish Death Penalty, End State of Emergency

Sunday, 27 October, 2019 - 09:45
Newly elected Tunisian President Kais Saied speaks during his swearing in ceremony, in Tunis, Wednesday Oct. 23, 2019. (AP)

Days after being sworn in, Tunisian President Kais Saied has started to come under various political, social and economic pressures.

Political parties are demanding that he intervene to bridge gaps between rivals over the formation of the new government amid concerns that consultations may fail, which may lead to early parliamentary elections.

Human rights groups are demanding Saied to secure freedoms. They have accused his supporters of threatening to attack television stations and various unions for simply criticizing the new authority that was established after the presidential and parliamentary polls.

Tunisian and international human rights organizations have called on Saied to take swift action to improve the human rights situation in the country.

They demanded an end to the state of emergency that has been imposed since November 2015. They also called for abolishing the death penalty, saying this will prove Saied’s commitment to human rights.

Head of the independent Observatory for Rights and Freedoms in Tunisia Anwar Welad Ali told Asharq Al-Awsat that Saied has pledged to uphold the law, starting with the constitution. He has also vowed to work on protecting the constitutional rights and freedoms of the Tunisians without discrimination.

“The Observatory has noted that thousands of Tunisians have been affected by the state of emergency, which has imposed restrictions on them,” he added.

The state of emergency has been used to violate a number of rights and bind freedoms, including restricting freedom of movement due to border measures, the imposition of house arrest and violation of privacy and personal data, he pointed out.

He also cited violations of freedom of expression, thought and belief, suppression of protests and organizations.

He also called for returning Tunisian children, who are stranded in inhumane conditions in Syrian and Libyan camps or prisons. He warned that they are at risk of being kidnapped by terrorists or human traffickers.

Amnesty International had called on Saied to prioritize several key actions aimed at promoting human rights.

They include putting an end to abuses committed by security forces, such as the arbitrary use of the state of emergency procedures, and adhering to the recommendations by the Truth and Dignity Commission (TDC), an independent state body mandated by the 2013 Law on Transitional Justice.

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