News / Africa

UN Human Rights Mission Begins in Tunisia

U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay addresses a news conference on the situation in Tunisia at the European headquarters of the United Nations in Geneva, January 19, 2011
U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay addresses a news conference on the situation in Tunisia at the European headquarters of the United Nations in Geneva, January 19, 2011

A team of top-level specialists from the U.N. Human Rights Office starts a week-long assessment of the human-rights situation and priorities in Tunisia. 

The eight-member team of human-rights specialists has an intense schedule ahead.  Over the coming week, the experts will meet with the interim authorities, civil society groups, U.N. agencies and other key people.  

U.N. Human Rights Spokesman, Rupert Colville, says their aim is to explore ways of advancing human rights in Tunisia.  He says they will seek to gain a first-hand understanding of the human rights challenges that confront Tunisian society.

“Nothing beats being on the ground and talking face-to-face with people, talking to people you normally do not have contact with, hearing all different views, and seeing really first-hand what happened, what the ramifications are and what the general mood is,” Colville said.  “And, also probably learning a lot about endemic problems, which lead to human-rights abuses and could lead to future human-rights abuses.”  

Colville says the mission will explore ways to mend the system so that a future Tunisia is a leading light in the region, a beacon for honoring the human rights of all people.

He says U.N. High Commissioner, Navi Pillay believes human rights abuses were at the heart of the problems that led to the ousting of Tunisia’s dictatorial leader.  Therefore, human rights must be at the forefront of the solutions to those problems.

He says the human-rights experts will return to Geneva when they have completed their assessment and write up their observations and recommendations.  He says the High Commissioner wants to be able to use these findings to put together a set of concrete proposals to improve the human-rights situation in Tunisia.  

He says some of the proposals may be of an immediate nature.  Others, he says, will be more complicated and will take longer to implement.

“For example, revising laws, which is never a quick business and revising institutions.  The police, the secret police, the judiciary-making sure the judiciary functions independently, which it was not really doing before.  These are very major systemic problems that will need probably short, medium and long-term action to sort out,” he stated.   

Colville says the team is conducting its mission with an open mind.  He says it wants to explore the possibilities for advancing human-rights in Tunisia and fully understand the challenges ahead.

He says High Commissioner Pillay will continue to closely watch the situation in Tunisia.  He says she is intent on ensuring the human-rights aspirations of the Tunisian people are finally achieved, so their sacrifices will not be in vain.

NEW: Follow our Middle East reports on Twitter
and discuss them on our Facebook page.

You May Like

Disappointing Report on China's Economy Shakes Markets

In London and New York shares lost 3 percent, while Paris and Germany dropped around 2.4 percent More

DRC Tries Mega-Farms to Feed Population

Park at Boukanga Lonzo currently has 5,000 hectares under cultivation, crops stretching as far as eye can see, and is start of ambitious large-scale agriculture plan More

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Areas are spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, source of livelihood for fishermen and herders who have called the marshes home for generations 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.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs