Tunisia draft charter lacking on rights: HRW

Updated 23 January 2013
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Tunisia draft charter lacking on rights: HRW

TUNIS: Tunisia's draft constitution still lacks full provision for human rights despite making some progress, Human Rights Watch said yesterday in a letter to the National Constituent Assembly.
The US-based watchdog said that it wrote urging the interim Parliament to "amend those articles of the second draft of the constitution that risk undermining human rights."
Such articles include "a broad formulation of permissible limitations on rights and freedoms, weak guarantees for the independence of the judiciary, immunity for the head of state, and discrimination based on religion," it said. Tunisia's assembly made the second draft of the new constitution public on Dec. 14, but it is still being negotiated between the ruling Ennahda party and its allies and the opposition.
HRW said there was "no explicit mention of the international framework of human rights or to 'universal human rights,' in contrast to the previous constitution."
It said this fails to situate rights freedoms "in their universally understood meaning and risks opening the door to divergent interpretations incompatible with universally recognized human rights."
But HRW also cited as positive the fact that the draft drops "the criminalization of all attacks on 'the sacred' and the criminalisation of any form of 'normalization' with 'Zionism and the Zionist state'."


It also said the new draft "contains language that better protects equal rights for women."
In its letter, signed by HRW's Middle East and North Africa executive director Sarah Leah Whitson, the watchdog said immunity accorded to the head of state was excessive.
"While immunity laws are commonplace for elected officials while they hold office, they should be worded so as to exclude lifetime immunity from prosecution for grave human rights abuses and international crimes," it said.
It also recommended that a "draft provision that discriminates among citizens by requiring that the President of the Republic be a Muslim" be removed as it is a form of discrimination.
On judicial independence, the draft's "ambiguous formulation" could "lead judges and legislators to ignore Tunisia’s international obligations on the basis that they contradict the new constitution," HRW said.
FROM: AGENCE FRANCE PRESSE


UAE to rebuild Iraq’s iconic Mosul mosque destroyed in Daesh fight

Updated 23 April 2018
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UAE to rebuild Iraq’s iconic Mosul mosque destroyed in Daesh fight

  • UAE donates over $50mn to reconstruct Mosul’s Great Mosque of Al-Nuri
  • The five-year project aims to give hope to Iraqi youths

BAGHDAD: The United Arab Emirates and Iraq on Monday launched a joint effort to reconstruct Mosul’s Great Mosque of Al-Nuri and its iconic leaning minaret, ravaged last year during battles to retake the city from militants.
During the ceremony at Baghdad’s National Museum, UAE Culture Minister Noura Al-Kaabi said her country would put forward $50.4 million (41.2 million euros) for the task.
“The five-year project is not just about rebuilding the mosque, the minaret and the infrastructure, but also about giving hope to young Iraqis,” she said.
“The millenia-old civilization must be preserved.”
The deal was signed by Kaabi and her Iraqi counterpart, Faryad Rawanduzi, in the presence of UNESCO’s Iraq representative Louise Haxthausen.
“This is an ambitious, highly symbolic project for the resurrection of Mosul and Iraq,” said Haxthausen.
“The work has already begun, the site is now protected... we must first clear the site, remove the rubble (and) document, before we can begin reconstructing the mosque and its minaret.”
The famed 12th century mosque and its leaning minaret — dubbed “the hunchback,” or Al-Habda, by locals — was destroyed in June 2017.
The Iraqi army accused Daesh militants of destroying it with explosives as Iraqi forces steadily retook ground in the embattled city.
It was in this mosque in 2014 that Daesh’s self-proclaimed “caliph,” Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, made his only public appearance as leader. His whereabouts are still unknown.
Kaabi, the Emirati minister, called on the international community “to unite to protect universal heritage sites, especially those in our Arab region” in theaters of conflict.
The Al-Nuri mosque is named after Nureddine Al-Zinki, who once ruled over Aleppo and Mosul and ordered the construction of the mosque in 1172.
Al-Habda, which maintained the same structure for nine centuries, was one of the only remnants of the original construction.
Decorated with geometric brick designs, the minaret was long a symbol of the city.
It was printed on 10,000 Iraqi dinar banknotes before it became a symbol of Daesh rule, when the militants planted their black flag at the top of its 45-meter spire.
“This is a historic partnership, the largest and unprecedented cooperation to rebuild cultural heritage in Iraq ever,” UNESCO chief Audrey Azoulay said in a statement.
The first year of reconstruction will focus on documenting and clearing the site, UNESCO said.
The following four years will focus on the restoration and “faithful reconstruction” of the mosque, its minaret as well as the city’s historic gardens and open spaces.