Tunisia: Civil Society Open Letter about Security Laws

Tunisia: Civil Society Open Letter about Security Laws - Civic Space

Riot police soon after they stormed a protest camp outside the Prime Minister's office. Although mass protests forced President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali to flee into exile, following 23 years of tyranical rule, tensions remained high and when Prime Minister Ghannouchi formed a government of national unity protests continued as the people demanded a clean break with the past.

ARTICLE 19 and other civil society organisations have signed a joint letter to the Tunisian Parliament.

We do not intend to minimize the necessity for a strong response with regard to security and the prevention of acts of terrorism, which are increasingly numerous in several countries, both in northern and southern regions of the planet. However, a discourse and public policies that would aim to oppose security and the respect for human rights are inadequate to achieve the objective of protecting citizens and the armed forces.

The increased terrorist threat has led to adoption or tightening of a large number of related laws in several countries. Often debated and adopted in a climate of fear and anger following an act of terrorism that shocked public opinion, these texts very often include provisions that infringe on public and individual rights.

While the draft organic law relative to the fight against terrorism and prevention of money laundering is being examined by the Assembly of the Representatives of the People, we wish to draw your attention to certain articles that are contrary to international standards for the protection of human rights.

Law no. 2003-75 of 10 December 2003, relative to support of international efforts to fight terrorism and prevent money laundering, was recognized both by the public authorities and civil society as including numerous violations of international standards and criteria relative to human rights. The new draft law currently being discussed must not reproduce the destructive consequences generated by the above-mentioned law.

Our observations thus aim to ensure that the provisions of the law comply with the principles of the rule of law, as well as with international human rights standards.

Read the full letter in English here.

La lettre en Fran├žais.

Read the lettre in Arabic here.