The ICJ denounces Tunisia’s authoritarian drift and its nefarious impact on human rights

Tunisia: today, the ICJ denounced the brutal crackdown on political dissent and freedom of expression through a statement delivered during the General debate under item 4 at the Human Rights Council.

The statement reads as follows:

“Mr President,

In Tunisia, since 25 July 2021, the President’s arrogation of powers and his successive autocratic decisions – the latest of which is the dissolution of all democratically elected municipal councils – have severely undermined the rule of law and reversed the human rights and democratic progress achieved since 2011.

We are alarmed by the brutal crackdown on political dissent and freedom of expression through the arrests and prosecutions of critics, including journalists, lawyers and judges, the increased reliance on purported “terrorism” charges, and the military trials of civilians. This crackdown, coupled with threats against civil society, is shrinking any remaining civic space in the country.

The executive’s systematic interference in the judiciary has greatly sapped judicial independence and undermined the right to a fair trial, enabling the criminal justice system’s use as a weapon against political opposition.

Moreover, as the High Commissioner recently highlighted, the “country-wide wave of arrests and attacks, coupled with dehumanising and racist rhetoric” against sub-Saharan migrants,[1] have further exposed those already at risk to racial violence.

The ICJ calls upon this Council and its Member States to hold Tunisia to its international human rights law obligations, and to urge the authorities to halt their authoritarian drift and re-establish the rule of law.

The ICJ statement was delivered also on behalf of the International Service for Human Rights, CIVICUS, Article 19 and Avocats Sans Frontières.”

[The statement was delivered by Collin Christner]


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