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
0

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.


US accepts Assad staying in Syria — but will not give aid

Updated 18 December 2018
0

US accepts Assad staying in Syria — but will not give aid

  • James Jeffrey said that Assad needed to compromise as he had not yet won the brutal seven-year civil war
  • Trump’s administration has acknowledged, if rarely so explicitly, that Assad is likely to stay

WASHINGTON: The US said Monday it was no longer seeking to topple Syrian President Bashar Assad but renewed warnings it would not fund reconstruction unless the regime is “fundamentally different.”

James Jeffrey, the US special representative in Syria, said that Assad needed to compromise as he had not yet won the brutal seven-year civil war, estimating that some 100,000 armed opposition fighters remained in Syria.

“We want to see a regime that is fundamentally different. It’s not regime change —  we’re not trying to get rid of Assad,” Jeffrey said at the Atlantic Council, a Washington think tank.

Estimating that Syria would need $300-400 billion to rebuild, Jeffrey warned that Western powers and international financial institutions would not commit funds without a change of course.

“There is a strong readiness on the part of Western nations not to ante up money for that disaster unless we have some kind of idea that the government is ready to compromise and thus not create yet another horror in the years ahead,” he said.

Former President Barack Obama had called for Assad to go, although he doubted the wisdom of a robust US intervention in the complex Syrian war. and kept a narrow military goal of defeating the Daesh extremist group.

President Donald Trump’s administration has acknowledged, if rarely so explicitly, that Assad is likely to stay.

But Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned in October that the US would not provide “one single dollar” for Syria’s reconstruction if Iran stays.

Jeffrey also called for the ouster of Iranian forces, whose presence is strongly opposed by neighboring Israel, although he said the US accepted that Tehran would maintain some diplomatic role in the country.

Jeffrey also said that the US wanted a Syria that does not wage chemical weapons attacks or torture its own citizens.

He acknowledged, however, that the US may not find an ally anytime soon in Syria, saying: “It doesn’t have to be a regime that we Americans would embrace as, say, qualifying to join the European Union if the European Union would take Middle Eastern countries.”