Arab Organisation for Human Rights in the UK (AOHR UK) hereby expresses its concern with the Tunisian president’s suspension of the House of Representatives and his taking up sole executive authority, using an extreme interpretation of the constitution.
AOHR UK notes that these decisions were preceded by demonstrations protesting both the governmental crisis and the poor living- and health conditions suffered by all sections of the population and that these demonstrations were accompanied by acts of violence, including attacks against party headquarters.
AOHR UK affirms that the president should have attempted to calm the anger of the street rather than making decisions that increase division and damage democratic life and public freedoms.
The storming of Al-Jazeera headquarters and the expulsion of employees was a natural result of such decisions, AHOR UK points out – clearly, these were steps taken to prevent the broadcasting of the other side’s version of events, whilst media that demonizes those opposed to the president’s decisions is allowed to continue.
The measures taken against Al-Jazeera’s and other journalists are objectionable: it must be condemned and reversed, and the channel’s staff allowed to work according to professional norms, in order to ensure that events are reported in a balanced manner.
The president’s taking full authority is a catastrophe, one that returns Tunisia to the era of dictatorship. It undoes all the gains made by the people during their revolution against the Ben Ali regime and opens the door wide for the forces waiting to destroy the last stronghold of the Arab Spring.
Tunisia stands at a crossroads: either a pluralistic, democratic politics or a totalitarian police state, one that is leading Tunisia towards yet more crises and isolation, therefore all civil forces in Tunisian society must join together to restore the democratic life via serious, honest dialogue.