Tunisia president will respect rights, FM tells UN

Tunisia president will respect human rights, FM tells UN after 'coup'
2 min read
28 July, 2021
Tunisia foreign minister told Michelle Bachelet that Saied took 'exceptional measures' due to the 'danger' posed by a political standstill and a worsening economic and social situation.
Tunisian Foreign Minister Othman Jerandi spoke to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights on Monday [Getty}

Tunisian President Kais Saied pledged to respect the "rights and freedoms" of Tunisians, Foreign Minister Othman Jerandi told the United Nations' High Commissioner for Human Rights on Monday, a day after sacking his prime minister and froze parliament.

Jerandi spoke to commissioner Michelle Bachelet about developments in Tunisia on Monday night, according to a Tunisian foreign ministry statement released Tuesday.

Jerandi told Bachelet that Saied was looking "to respect rights and freedoms and the principle of equality of citizens before the law, and not to compromise them in any way".

The foreign minister told Bachelet that Saied had taken "exceptional measures" due to the "danger" posed by Tunisia's political standstill and a worsening economic and social situation.

Saied sparked a crisis on Sunday when he dismissed the prime minister and froze parliament – acts branded as a "coup" by his opponents.

Perspectives

The Tunis office of broadcaster Al-Jazeera was shut down on Monday and journalists from other outlets have had their phones and equipment seized by police, sparking fears of a crackdown on media.

Protests broke out after Saied's announcement, with some protesters alleging the police had used excessive force.

Saied on Monday issued a decree banning public protests

Human rights groups expressed dismay at the president's actions and warned of a heightened risk if human rights abuses. 

Moderate Islamist Ennahda movement, the largest party in parliament, said it was ready for new elections. 

The UN said on Monday that it was closely monitoring events in Tunisia and urged restraint from all parties.