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Tunisia: UN expresses concern about 'erosion' of state institutions

United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet delivers a speech at the opening of a session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, on September 13, 2021 [FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP via Getty Images]
United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet in Geneva, on 13 September 2021 [FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images]

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, has expressed her concern about the suspension of the Tunisian parliament and the rapid "erosion" of Tunisian institutions, Al-Quds Al-Arabi has reported.

Bachelet made her comments during the 29th session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva on Tuesday.

She added that the decision by President Kais Saied last month to dissolve the Supreme Judicial Council "severely undermines the rule of law, the separation of powers, and the independence of the judiciary." The UN official noted that the announcement in December of a roadmap for 2022 included a national consultation for all Tunisians to be followed by a referendum in July, and a parliamentary election by December.

READ: What's next for Tunisia after release of Ennahda official?

"I am deeply concerned by the president's recent announcement of plans to deprive civil society organisations of overseas funding," said Bachelet. "This threatens to damage the basic civil and democratic space severely. We will follow these developments closely."

The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, she confirmed, believes firmly that the significant progress that Tunisia has achieved in the past decade, with the aim of the promotion and activation of human rights, can and should be preserved. "We will support reform efforts that are consistent with Tunisia's obligations under international law."

Meanwhile, Abdelwahab El Hani, the former UN expert and head of Al-Majd Party, called on Saied to follow the example of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who called recently for developing the work of parliament and government institutions in order to deal with the challenges facing his country.

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