News from Africa

Tunisia: UN and African experts on rights defenders in first official visit to North Africa since ‘Arab Spring’

Human Rights

Témoignages.re / 26 September 2012

The UN Special Rapporteur on human rights defenders, Margaret Sekaggya, and the Special Rapporteur on human rights defenders of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, Reine Alapini-Gansou, will visit Tunisia from 27 September to 5 October 2012. It is the first official visit of the UN and African Commission experts on human rights defenders to North Africa since the popular uprising which has swept the region since December 2010.

“Human rights defenders have played an essential part in the call for democracy, justice and human rights across the region. Moreover, the ‘Arab Spring’ appears to have contributed to greater awareness of human rights among the population and to the emergence of a new generation of human rights defenders,” said Ms. Sekaggya. “We are intrigued and excited to observe the working conditions of defenders of all generations in the country that in many ways triggered the ‘Arab Spring.’”

“Our aim is to evaluate the situation of human rights defenders in Tunisia in an objective and impartial manner”, added Ms. Alapini-Gansou. “This is a unique opportunity to provide observations and recommendations on Tunisia’s legal framework, institutions and other factors influencing the situation of defenders.”

The Special Rapporteurs, who are visiting the country at the invitation of the Tunisian authorities, are scheduled to meet with Government officials, representatives of the legislative and judicial branches, a broad range of civil society actors, the United Nations and diplomatic delegations. They will visit Tunis, Jendouba, Le Kef and Sidi Bouzid.

The two experts will hold a press conference in Tunis at the Novotel Mohammed V at the end of the visit on 5 October 2012 at 11:00, to present their preliminary findings and recommendations.

A final report on the visit will be presented by Margaret Sekaggya to the UN Human Rights Council in March 2013. Reine Alapini-Gansou will present her report to the African Commission’s 53rd Session in April 2013.

GENEVA, Switzerland, September 26, 2012/African Press Organization (APO)

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