Emirates Airline banned a large number of Tunisian women from travelling to Dubai on Friday without any explanation. According to the official Tunis Afrique Presse, Tunisian woman of all ages were denied permission to board their flight, even if accompanied by a spouse, and regardless of whether they were going to the UAE or intending to travel on to another destination.
The ban created chaotic scenes at the Emirati carrier's desk at the airport. The women involved said that the decision was discriminatory against Tunisian women and a violation of passengers' rights, given that they were visa-holders and had valid tickets.
Tunisia's Prime Minister, Youssef Chahed, met the Ambassador of the UAE, Salem Issa Elkattam Zeabi, but no details about the meeting were revealed. No reasons for the ban were given by official sources in either country.
Tunisian blogger Dr Sahbi Amri told Quds Press that they ban was humiliating to everyone in Tunisia, not just Tunisian women. "This is a desperate attempt to offend the honour of Tunisians and the dignity of Tunisian women, in response to Tunisia's stand against the sale of Jerusalem to the [Israeli] occupation, which was supported by America and some Gulf countries," he claimed. "Relations were strained between the UAE authorities and Tunisia since the success of the Tunisian revolution, and the UAE has worked to destabilise the country and cause the failure of the democratic transition by supporting the counter revolution."