Politics | Human rights
Tunisia govt improves rights situation
During the last week, there had been increased criticism of the lack of reform and action to reform the repressive forces in post-revolutionary Tunisia. Human rights groups documented continued police brutality and police officers expressing the same repressive values as in pre-revolutionary days.
In Tunis, the reforms and measures to improve the human rights situation are not yet being strongly felt. Demonstrations against government have more or less ceased, but police officers in the country yet have to learn new values in their treatment of dissidents and other civilians.
To achieve more thorough human rights gains, the Tunisian government hopes for international cooperation and aid programmes, which in principle already has been promised by its major partner, the European Union (EU). To ease the process, the Tunis cabinet last week ratified several "important international conventions that will upgrade Tunisia to the rank of an advanced democracy," according to a government statement.
The newly ratified international conventions include treaties prohibiting arbitrary detentions, torture and other degrading treatment, protocols securing citizens political rights and adherence to the International Criminal Court.
Meanwhile, the Tunisian government is looking into broad economic and social reforms in an attempt to address the social problems that contributed to sparking the revolution. Importantly, solutions are sought for Tunisia's very high youth unemployment rate.
As first steps, government has agreed to pay businesses and households for the damages to their properties caused by the unrest during the revolution. Further, efforts are made to help businesses that suffered from the unrest to get back on their feet again. Authorities are also sending strong signals abroad, saying it again is safe to invest in Tunisia and to travel to the country.
Regarding tourism, an important sector employing many Tunisians, authorities are optimistic. Tourism Minister Houass said that numbers for January ended at a 40 percent decrease, but added that the revolution, all in all, had served as "a good campaign" to make Tunisia known in the entire world. In the long run, he may be right, with Tunisia now being the most democratic and non-repressive Arab country.
By staff writers
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