UN rights chief calls on Tunisians to adopt democracy through fair elections

Ahram Online , Sunday 23 Oct 2011

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights urges Tunisians to establish a democratic state through fair and transparent elections and to be united in the face of economic, political and social challenges

The United Nations human rights chief today called on Tunisia to pioneer the path to full democracy through elections for a constituent assembly that begin on Sunday.

“Free and fair elections are just the first step. The new constituent assembly will assume the difficult task of translating demands for freedom, dignity and human rights into a new constitution,” UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said in a statement.

“The new authorities will face multiple political, institutional, economic and social challenges, and the new state that is emerging will need a crystal clear and solid human rights foundation in order to tackle them,” she added, noting that human rights were at the root of the revolution – the first of many across North Africa and the Middle East.

“It is now crucial for Tunisians to ensure that human rights remain at the core of the new Tunisia,” she said.

Pillay added that the UN human rights office in the country is working on the ground to support the transformation of Tunisia into an open and democratic society. Projects include the development of an independent judiciary; institutional, legal and security sector reforms; reparations for victims; the establishment of an independent national human rights institution, and the implementation of economic, social and cultural rights.

“We are at a critical juncture and successful elections will be key to keeping the momentum going. For the first time in Tunisia’s history, an election is being supervised by an independent authority rather than by the Ministry of Interior,” she said.

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