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.


Hamas backs new Egyptian bid for Palestinian unity

Head of the Hamas political bureau, Ismail Haniyeh. (AP)
Updated 5 min 16 sec ago
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Hamas backs new Egyptian bid for Palestinian unity

  • Hamas won 2006 parliamentary elections but Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah and much of the international community refused to accept the result
  • A previous Egyptian-brokered deal, signed by Hamas and Fatah in October 2017, collapsed on implementation

GAZA: The head of Gaza’s rulers Hamas has announced his backing for a new Egyptian-led push for reconciliation with the rival Palestinian faction Fatah.
The office of Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh said he had spoken with Egypt’s intelligence head Abbas Kamel to inform him of his movement’s backing for a fresh Egyptian-brokered push.
A statement from the movement said the two men discussed the “latest developments in the Palestinian issue and especially the reconciliation file and humanitarian projects for the people of the Gaza Strip.”
Haniyeh’s deputy Saleh Al-Arouri led a delegation to Cairo last week. So far Fatah has not officially responded to this fresh push for reconciliation.
A previous Egyptian-brokered deal, signed by Hamas and Fatah in October 2017, collapsed on implementation.
In March, the head of the Fatah-dominated West Bank government survived a roadside bomb hitting his convoy in a rare visit to Gaza, with his allies later accusing Hamas of planning the attack. It was hoped that reconciliation could alleviate humanitarian suffering in Gaza, home to some two million people.
The US has signaled its support for a fresh reconciliation push, but diplomats have little optimism.
Hamas won 2006 parliamentary elections but Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah and much of the international community refused to accept the result, leading to increased strife.
A year later, Hamas violently seized control of Gaza. Since then two separate Palestinian civil administrations emerged.