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OHCHR winds up assessment mission in Tunisia

Published the:  01/02/2011

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February 1, 2011  - TAP - The assessment mission of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) issued a set of recommendations deemed "urgent" by the Director of the Division of Human Rights Council and Treaties Division Bacre Ndiaye.
Speaking to national and foreign media on Tuesday, the head of OHCHR assessment mission said his visit in Tunisia was an opportunity to listen to many players among the interim government members and components of civil society, and to visit two prisons in Bizerte, as well as in other regions of the country.
On the death toll of the recent events in Tunisia, the head of OHCHR assessment mission reported 219 deaths, including 72 who died in prisons, and 510 injured.
"This death toll is not final; it could increase", Mr. Ndiaye added.
The UN experts' mission is to culminate with the report comprising recommendations and observations on means to "explore strides in the sphere of human rights in Tunisia" to be submitted to the OHCHR.
These recommendations include the redefinition of relationship between people and State, on the basis of "sovereignty of the law and respect for rights, such a relationship that will put the State in the service of its people," Mr. Bacre Ndiaye said.
He also emphasized the importance of an urgent reform of the security device which, according to him, "should be in the service of the people and dictate fight against impunity".
Mr. Ndiaye expressed OHCHR's willingness to lend support to Tunisia for preparing the elections that should be held in a "calm, free and transparent climate and express people's will".
The purpose, he continued, is to end inequalities between regions, consider human rights as a key element in the process of reconstruction of Tunisia and enrich the fruits of the Revolution led by Tunisian youth and civil society.
He deemed, in this regard, indispensable to involve the Tunisian society in the process of transition to democracy". On the OHCHR's view of the interim government, Mr. Ndiaye said: "we only judge acts", pointing, in this respect, to legalization of new parties, return of Tunisian exiles, the broader freedom of speech and NGOs' emancipated action".
Vigilance of the Tunisian people and civil society is, however, needed, he argued.
Regarding the latest events that took place on Friday at the Kasbah Square, head of OHCHR Rule of Law and Democracy Unit Mona Rishmawi said that incident should be investigated to prosecute those responsible for the attacks during the evacuation of protesters, by taking into account both the humanitarian and security dimensions.