While welcoming Tunisia's acceptance of 110 of its 125 recommendations during a United Nations review last week, the IFEX Tunisia Monitoring Group (IFEX-TMG) calls on the country's leadership to adopt the recommendations related to freedom of expression without delay.
Furthermore, the IFEX-TMG encourages a review of the legal basis for refusing to end the criminalisation of defamation, as was called for by one recommendation that the country rejected during the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of Tunisia that was adopted in Geneva.
During his presentation at the UPR session on 19 September, Samir Dilou, the minister of Human Rights and Transitional Justice, once again invoked the idea of "tradition" and "culture" in order to avoid answering specific questions related to the state of human rights and freedom of expression in Tunisia. The minister used an argument that has been repeatedly used to appease rights defenders when he said, "Tunisia needs more time to build a culture of human rights."
Ideas about tradition have been easily manipulated to suppress dissent and freedom of association and expression in Tunisia, where violations to the right to freedom of expression have been occurring with impunity in the name of "sacred values."
The IFEX-TMG calls on the Tunisian government to comply with the United Nations Human Rights Council's mechanisms and to take immediate steps to fully implement the recommendations brought forth during the UPR process related to freedom of expression.
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