By Jack Phillips
July 14, 2011
Tunisia, the first country to launch the Arab Spring protests that have swept throughout the Middle East, will be opening its first United Nations-backed human rights office, according to officials on Thursday.
The U.N. in a news release lauded the move to open a human rights bureau, saying that it is a sign that things are improving in the country, which had been ruled by autocrat Zine El Abidine Ben Ali until he was ousted the popular revolt in January.
Tunisia will become the first North African nation bordering the Mediterranean Sea to open a U.N. human rights office. Libya, Morocco, Algeria, and Egypt—all countries that have experienced varying degrees of unrest recently—do not have an office.
High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay, who planted a single symbolic olive tree near the office, said she hopes there will be “a new era of human rights and democracy in Tunisia.”
“The impact of these actions, on Tunisia itself, on the wider region, and indeed all across the world is hard to measure and is far from completed,” Pillay said. “But it has unquestionably been enormous and truly inspirational.”
Pillay added that human rights training courses will be available for police officers and judges. The country also recently ratified several U.N.-backed treaties that allow the country to regain its legitimacy. In June, it ratified the Rome Statue for the International Criminal Court, which allows for greater efficiency in prosecuting the perpetrators of war crimes and genocide.
However, on Wednesday, soldiers had to break up clashes among youths wielding knives and swords in the country’s southern town Gafsa, reported Reuters. Authorities also imposed a curfew.
Sporadic demonstrations have continued to persist throughout Tunisia, which signifies that some of its citizens are displeased with its caretaker government.
Interim Prime Minister Beji Caid Sebsi on Wednesday said that he is confident that the uprisings in other Arab countries would succeed. “I am sure that the Arab peoples will once more take their destiny into their own hands,” he said, according to the news agency.
Source: The Epoch Times.