Geneva – Hours after their detention, Tunisian authorities have released two participants in the protests that erupted in Tataouine, a southern state, against grievances such as government marginalization and unemployment, announced Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor.
The Tunisian authorities should satisfy the demands of the protesters, investigate any human rights violations committed by security forces, and ensure they are not repeated in the future.
Clashes between Tunisian security forces and demonstrators first broke out nearly a month ago in the governorate of Tataouine. Protesters claim the government has failed to fulfill promises made in 2017 to five jobs to the unemployed at oil companies in the state's Kamour region.
The Tunisian Interior Ministry claimed that the protesters "tried to attack the security services’ headquarters with Molotov cocktails," yet at the same time, the demonstrators were targeted with tear gas.
The Tunisian authorities should respect the right to peaceful expression of opinion and assembly without restriction. Peaceful protests are not security threats.
The Tunisian constitution guarantees the right to peaceful assembly and freedom of expression in Article 37, as well as recognizes international human rights law, especially the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Tunisia is a party.
While demonstrators should remain peaceful, the Tunisian government has a responsibility to open a constructive dialogue with protesters.
Sharing borders with Libya, Tataouine Governorate, an oil-rich region, lies in the southernmost of Tunisia. Especially in Kamour region, the governorate is witnessing revolving protests demanding the government to implement an agreement approved in 2017 to provide jobs for young people at oil companies, and launch development projects. Clashes broke out between protesters and security forces that fired tear gas to disperse them, while Tunisian army forces were deployed in the area to prevent protesters from disrupting oil companies' production.