Human rights defenders more at risk in Tunisia since the revolution

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Margaret Sekaggya (UN Photo/Jean-Marc Ferré)

A UN report says that female human rights defenders and journalists in Tunisia are more at risk since the revolution in 2011 of being killed, or faced with death threats, physical and verbal attacks, and judicial harassment.

Margaret Sekaggya, UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, presented the report to the Human Rights Council in Geneva. She said that the response of law enforcement authorities in Tunisia to violations against human rights defenders appears 'unsatisfactory' and that the lack of independence of the judiciary is also a cause for concern.

"I am concerned about the considerable polarization I observed in Tunisian society between secularists and Islamists, including so-called Salafists, a divide which also transpires to civil society. All stakeholders, including the international community, should work together to ensure dialogue, understanding and respect between different parts of society."

Ms Sekaggya also told the Human Rights Council that she's particularly concerned about the way human rights defenders are treated in countries in the Gulf region, especially in Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. And on recent developments in Egypt she said that the considerable violence suffered by peaceful protesters, including gender-based violence against women human rights defenders, points to a situation that is getting out of hand.

Nicki Chadwick, UN Radio, Geneva

Duration: 1’32″

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