News / Africa

    UN To Send Assessment Mission To Tunisia

    United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navy Pillay attends a press conference on the situation on Tunisia at the UN Offices in Geneva, 19 Jan 2011
    United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navy Pillay attends a press conference on the situation on Tunisia at the UN Offices in Geneva, 19 Jan 2011
    Lisa Schlein

    U.N. Human Rights Chief Navi Pillay says more than 100 people have died during the recent unrest in Tunisia.  She says she will send a team to Tunisia in the coming days to assess the human-rights situation in the country.  

    High Commissioner Navi Pillay says her office has received information about more than 100 deaths during the past five weeks.  She says more than 70 people have died as a result of live fire, seven have died in protest suicides and more than 40 have died in prison riots a few days ago.

    She says she is extremely concerned about the high number of deaths in Tunisia.  She says justice must be done and those who abuse power in Tunisia must be held accountable.

    “Human-rights abuses were at the heart of Tunisia’s problems," said Navi Pillay. "Therefore human rights must be right at the forefront of the solutions to those problems.  In future, those who abuse power in Tunisia-ranging from the President of the Republic to the Judge in the Court and the security officer on the street-all must be held accountable.”  

    It is for this reason, Pillay says, she is sending a team to Tunisia to gather information about the current and past human-rights situation.  She sees this is a first step toward creating a mission of inquiry.  One that will investigate the killings and the human-rights abuse that led up to these bloody events.

    “When international crimes are committed, there is an expectation that justice will be done," she said. "So, I always support the call for a credible transitional justice process in which all options are considered and the most appropriate ones are pursued.  I would like to emphasize that governments around the world must heed the calls of their people and not wait so they are driven to sacrificing their own lives to draw attention to their cause.”  

    High Commissioner Pillay says it is important the international community does what it can to support the clear desire of the Tunisian people to see that justice is done.

    At the same time, she says it is equally important that people do not take the law into their own hands.  She says issues relating to justice and fair trials need to be strengthened, not undermined by further acts of violence.   



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