News / Africa

Rivals Battle for Tunisia's Future as Anniversary Approaches

Rivals Vie for Tunisia's Future as Anniversary Approachesi
|| 0:00:00
X
Henry Ridgwell
November 29, 2012 11:03 PM
Tunisia has just marked the anniversary of its first free elections -- and will soon celebrate the second anniversary of the uprising that led to the downfall of its dictatorship and triggered the so-called "Arab Spring." But critics of the new government warn that human rights abuses are still taking place. As a new constitution is drawn up, opposing forces in the country are fighting to determine Tunisia's future. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA.

Rivals Vie for Tunisia's Future as Anniversary Approaches

Henry Ridgwell
— Tunisia has just marked its one-year anniversary since its first free elections - and will soon celebrate the second anniversary of the uprising that led to the downfall of its dictatorship and triggered the so-called Arab Spring. But critics of the new government warn human rights abuses are still taking place. As a new constitution is drawn up, opposing forces in the country are fighting to determine Tunisia's future.

Nearly two years after the overthrow of President Zine el Abidine Ben Ali, opposing forces are still fighting over Tunisia's future path.

Clashes erupted last month in the capital between police and Salafist Muslims.

Tension between hardline Islamists and secularists has risen since last year's election. The winner - the moderate Islamist Ennahda movement - is sharing power with two non-religious parties.

In London to receive the 2012 Chatham House Prize, Tunisia's President Moncef Marzouki said the coalition was a work in progress.

"If this experiment fails, another cycle of violence will undoubtedly take place. But if it succeeds, it can become an example for the rest of the Arab and Muslim countries," said Marzouki.

The co-recipient of the prize, head of the Ennahda movement Rached Ghannouchi, rejected accusations that Tunisia was moving away from democracy.

"We are certain that democracy and Islam are in harmony and that we can be democratic without letting go of Islam," he said.  Ghannouchi added that he believes "democracy without faith can turn into a power struggle where ethics are absent and where interest groups or financial lobbies rule."

Both leaders said fixing Tunisia's economy was vital for stability.

This week the European Union unfroze the assets belonging to 48 people associated with the former regime - potentially releasing millions of dollars back to Tunisian public funds.

Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui of human rights group Amnesty International says Tunisia's progress should not be forgotten.

"They did have elections which was quite significant for the region and I think it is setting a model for the rest of the region. But yet what we see ambiguity when it comes to human rights, when it comes to women's rights. We do see now people who are in jail in Tunisia for insulting Islam. This is something we haven't had before," said Sahraoui.

For the victims of the previous dictatorships, justice is at the core of the transition. A founder of the Tunisian Islamic Front in the 1980s, Mohamed Ali Harrath was tortured several times before fleeing in 1990. He now runs the TV station 'The Islam Channel' from London.

"No one should get away with murder; no one should get away with their wrongdoings. We have to bring them in; they have to face justice, but… after we have justice we have to move to reconciliation," said Harrath.

Harrath rejects what he calls Western fears of Islamization.

"Based on using that fear they supported dictators for so long. They have seen the results in terms of security, in terms of development, in terms of immigration," he said.

Large sections of Tunisian society are unhappy with their new government. But as the second anniversary of the revolution approaches, many analysts say the country where the Arab Spring began still holds lessons for those who followed its path.

You May Like

EU Court Fines Poland for Hosting CIA 'Black Sites'

Ruling is first time a court has acknowledged suspects were held and tortured at the sites, under US program launched following the 9/11 terrorist attacks More

Migrant Issues Close to Home Spur Groups to Take Action

Groups placing water, food in the desert, or aiding detainees after release, have one common goal: no more deaths of migrants crossing illegally into the US More

Video At AIDS Conference, Prevention Pill Stirs Excitement

Truveda shows promise, spurring debate over access and other approaches More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debatei
X
Shelley Schlender
July 24, 2014 6:43 PM
In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Death Toll From Israel-Gaza Conflict Surpasses 700

Gaza officials say a shelling hit a compound housing a United Nations-run school in the Gaza Strip, killing more than a dozen people, during an Israeli offensive in the area. Heavy fighting between the Israeli military and Hamas militants continued on Thursday, pushing up the death toll. So far, more than 730 Palestinians and 35 Israelis have been killed in the conflict. VOA's Scott Bobb has the latest from Jerusalem.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnels

The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video Researchers Target Low-Cost Avatar Technology

Scientists at the University of Southern California Institute for Creative Technologies say 3-dimensional representations could revolutionize social media. Elizabeth Lee has more from Los Angeles.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.

AppleAndroid