In 2011, the Tunisian people – and especially the youth – inspired a global change with their Revolution. They sparked the Arab Spring and pushed the country onto the path towards democracy. As every democracy experiences ups and downs, Tunisians, too, have witnessed many pivotal moments and milestones in the evolution of their young democracy. A new constitution, presidential and parliamentarian elections, national dialogue, municipal elections and decentralization, a smooth transition of power – and the death of President Caied Essebsi, which could have resulted in real instability.
We believe it is the many challenges faced by Tunisia’s democratic transition that have brought the country to its current situation. Ten years after the 2011 uprising, Tunisia is still going through a deep social and economic crisis. In addition to high unemployment and ingrained corruption, the Covid-19 health crisis has fueled tensions and contributed to more social unrest, leading to the special measures announced by the President on July 25.
Although President Kais Saied affirmed that the freedoms and the gains of the revolution are important, Hivos strongly urges that actions must be taken to ensure that constitutional freedoms and rights are duly respected. No exceptional measure should justify or allow for violations of human rights or freedoms, including freedom of the press.
We urgently call on the authorities to provide clear information to the public, ensure fair and transparent media coverage of the current crisis, and help combat misinformation and the spread of fake news. National and international media outlets have a responsibility to ensure thorough fact-checking of the news.
Hivos stands in solidarity with its partners and the Tunisian people in their legitimate demands for stability and reform, and in their efforts to realize and build on the gains of the Revolution. We call on all parties to stand by Tunisia’s interests and avoid any form of violence and division.
Safeguarding the lives of Tunisians must be a top priority during this devastating wave of the coronavirus, and the people’s right to health services and vaccines should remain above any political discord.
Finally, we cannot emphasize enough that transparency and unity is a guarantor for getting the country out of its current political, social and economic crisis and ensuring the continuity of the democratic process. All Tunisians across all political spectrums, young and old, should remain steadfast and unified in support of their beloved nation, Tunisia.