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Tunisia: Amnesty urges president to lift travel bans

August 27, 2021 at 11:54 am

A photo shows a view of Tunis-Carthage International Airport (TUN) as it remains quiet after Tunisair airline employees went on strike to protest the lack of a reform plan by the company in Tunis, Tunisia on February 19, 2021. [Yassine Gaidi – Anadolu Agency]

Amnesty International called on Thursday for Tunisian President Kais Saied to lift “arbitrary” travel bans and respect citizens’ right to freedom of movement, Anadolu has reported.

That right, said the human rights organisation, is guaranteed under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights. “Tunisia has ratified both. Any restrictions on the right must be necessary and proportionate and subject to meaningful judicial review.”

Amnesty pointed out that Saied has made “widespread” use of such bans in the month since he assumed executive control of Tunisia. “In doing so he has bypassed the judiciary.”

The cases of at least 50 people have been documented by the organisation. They include judges, senior state officials, civil servants, businessmen and an MP, who were prevented from travelling abroad during the past month without any judicial authority, written order, reason or time frame for the ban. Amnesty suggested that the actual number of those facing travel ban orders since 25 July is “much higher”.

At the time of writing, the Tunisian authorities had not issued an official comment on Amnesty International’s statement.

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