HRW urges Tunisia to extend rights commission’s mandate

Residents clean up a street after clashes between protesters and riot police in Siliana, northwest of Tunis December 2, 2012. (Reuters)
Updated 23 March 2018
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HRW urges Tunisia to extend rights commission’s mandate

TUNIS: Human Rights Watch on Friday urged Tunisia to extend the mandate of a commission set up to examine human rights violations during six decades of dictatorship.
The widely-praised Truth and Dignity Commission (IVD) was set up following the 2011 revolt that toppled dictator Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali and sparked the Arab Spring uprisings.
Tunisia’s parliament is set to vote on Saturday whether to prolong its work.
But HRW’s Tunisia director, Amna Guellali, accused Tunisian authorities of hampering the commission “by refusing to fully cooperate with it and by adopting a controversial law on administrative reconciliation.”
“By voting ‘no’ to extending the commission’s work, parliament would be voting ‘yes’ for impunity,” she said in a statement.
The commission has a five-year mandate to investigate human rights violations between 1957, when Habib Bourguiba became president, and 2013, when the IVD was set up in the wake of the revolution.
It aims to hold perpetrators to account and rehabilitate their victims.
A “no” vote on Saturday could force it to cease work in May.
That “would sabotage the fragile transitional justice process and trample the rights of victims to truth, justice and reparations,” Guellali said.


Israel gives Bedouin villagers until end of month to leave

Updated 23 September 2018
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Israel gives Bedouin villagers until end of month to leave

  • Israel’s supreme court on September 5 rejected appeals against demolition, allowing authorities to move ahead
  • ‘No one will leave. We will have to be expelled by force’

JERUSALEM: Israeli authorities issued a notice to residents of a Bedouin village in a strategic spot in the occupied West Bank on Sunday informing them they have until the end of the month to leave.
The fate of Khan Al-Ahmar has drawn international concern, with European countries calling on Israel not to move ahead with plans to demolish it.
Israel’s supreme court on September 5 rejected appeals against demolition, allowing authorities to move ahead.
Israel says the village was built without the proper permits, though it is extremely difficult for Palestinians to receive such permission in that part of the West Bank.
The notice given to the some 200 residents of Khan Al-Ahmar on Sunday says they have until the end of the month to demolish the village themselves.
“Pursuant to a supreme court ruling, residents of Khan Al-Ahmar received a notice today requiring them to demolish all the structures on the site by October 1st, 2018,” a statement from the Israeli defense ministry unit that oversees civilian affairs in the West Bank said.
It did not say what will happen if they refuse to do so. Village residents vowed not to leave despite the notice.
“No one will leave. We will have to be expelled by force,” said village spokesman Eid Abu Khamis, adding that a residents’ meeting would be held later on the issue.
“If the Israeli army comes to demolish, it will only be by force.”
The village is located in a strategic spot east of Jerusalem, near Israeli settlements and along a road leading to the Dead Sea.
There have been warnings that continued settlement building in the area would eventually divide the West Bank in two, dealing a death blow to any remaining hopes of a two-state solution.
Israeli authorities have offered alternative sites for Khan Al-Ahmar residents, but villagers say the first was near a rubbish dump and the latest close to a sewage treatment plant.