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Tunisia
28.03.01
Urgent Interventions

Human Rights Defenders in Tunisia: Briefing Session During the Commission

AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL
INTERNATIONAL FEDERATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS
HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH
OBSERVATORY FOR THE PROTECTION OF HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS
WORLD ORGANISATION AGAINST TORTURE
REPORTERS WITHOUT BORDERS
EUROMED HUMAN RIGHTS NETWORK

Press conference – Briefing
TUNISIA : BEHIND THE SCENES
TUNISIAN HUMAN RIGHTS ACTIVISTS APPEAL TO UNITED NATIONS COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS
Palais des Nations, Friday 30 March 2001, from 1.00 pm to 3.00 pm, Room XXI

While French President Jacques Chirac speaks, for the first time, to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, seven international human rights NGOs and several representatives of Tunisian civil society appeal to the members States of the United Nations Commission to react to violations of human rights in Tunisia.
For the last six months, there has been an unprecedented increase in repression in Tunisia. Human rights activists, trade unions, student movments and journalists have been a prime target of the regime. Repressive measure have included suspension of the activities of the new assertive leadership of the Tunisian Human Rights League (LTDH), the cutting of telephone and fax lines, sabotage of vehicles, confiscation of passports, shadowing, verbal threats, interdictions to leave the territory, unfair dismissals, arbitrary arrests, unfair trials, assaults in the street, assassination attempts, etc.

Þ While the United Nations Commission on Human Rights has just started to examine the question of "Massive, flagrant and systematic violations", representatives of Tunisian civil society, invited by the organisations quoted above, will expose to the press, to Special Rapporteurs of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights and to its members states, the situation of human rights in Tunisia. Participants in this briefing to be held on 30 March 2001 in Geneva, include Sihem Bensedrine, spokesperson of the National Council for Liberties in Tunisia (CNLT), Bochra Belhajd Hamida, President of the Tunisian Association of Democratic Women (ATFD), Radhia Nasraoui, lawyer, Chawki Tabib, President of the Tunisian Association of Young Lawyers (ATJA) and Mokhtar Trifi, President of the Tunisian Human Rights League (LTDH). The debate will be moderated by Kamel Jendoubi, President of the Committee for the Respect of Liberties and Human Rights in Tunisia (CRLDHT).
This conference is held in the context of the Caravan for Human Rights in Tunisia whose goals are to inform and promote public awareness on the deterioration of freedoms and human rights in Tunisia.
Þ The same day, in an open letter to European Commissioner Chris Patten, to High Representative Javier Solana and to European Foreign Ministers, these organisations (including Avocats sans Frontières and the International Service for Human Rights) call on the European Union to concretely react to the deterioration of human rights in Tunisia. The European Union and Tunisia are linked by an Association Agreement, signed on 17 July 1995, which includes a legally binding human rights clause (art. 2), that has however, never been invoked.
¨ This letter is available on the following websites : www.amnesty.org, www.euromedrights.net, www.omct.org, www.rsf.fr, www.hrw.org, www.fidh.org

Contacts in Geneva:
AI: Sophie Marsac Tel. (41) 22 798 25 00
FIDH: Eleni Petroula Tel. (41) 22 700 12 88
OMCT: Nathalie Mivelaz Tel. (41) 22 809 49 39
HRW: Joanna Weschler Tel. (41) 79 387 48 68
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