Tunisia: Amnesty International's Human Rights Agenda for Change

January 26, 2011

In the wake of Ben Ali’s flight from Tunisia, Tunisian authorities have an unprecedented opportunity to address past abuse and overhaul a corrupt security and justice system. But authorities must act quickly and decisively, as political unrest threatens the new caretaker government.

Protesters chant slogan while riot police stand by during a demonstration in downtown Tunis January 17, 2011. Tunisian security forces used water cannon, tear gas and fired shots in the air on Monday as demonstrators took to the streets demanding that the ruling party of the ousted president give up power.

Amnesty International welcomed the government’s initial commitment to ensure that all political prisoners are released, but other urgent steps must still be taken to ensure a new era of justice.

We recently presented the Tunisian authorities with an action plan to break from the government’s repressive history.  Our plan calls for the overhaul of the current security system, official condemnation of torture, and the establishment of an independent judiciary. Authorities must also ensure that rights, such as freedom of expression and universal access to essential public services, are immediately established.

Neither Tunisian authorities nor citizens will soon forget the human rights violations committed under Ben Ali’s rule. To ensure a future of security and freedom, violations of the past decades should be fully investigated. Tunisian authorities need to ensure that those responsible for past violations are held accountable, establishing the principle that no one is above the law.

See our Tunisia page to read more about human rights in Tunisia.