9 June 2014

Tunisia: International Conference On Launch of 'Truth and Dignity Commission'

Bardo — An international seminar was held on Monday in Bardo on the establishment of the "Truth and Dignity Commission."

The meeting was opened by the Caretaker President of the Republic, the President of the National Constituent Assembly (NCA) and the Interim Prime Minister, in the presence of many national and international personalities, representatives of NGOs, government members, deputies and international experts in transitional justice.

The 15 members of the newly formed authority were introduced to the attendees one week before their first official meeting (June 17) to examine alleged human rights violations committed since 1955, the date Tunisia was granted internal autonomy.

"There can be no sustainable democratic system without a serious inventory of mistakes of the past," argued Caretaker President Moncef Marzouki, stressing the need to overcome the injustices committed by the former regime against regions that have remained disadvantaged, various ideological and political currents, economic forces, associations and organisations.

The delay in the implementation of the transitional justice has only compounded the sense of injustice and helplessness in the minds of victims, added Marzouki, emphasising the importance of rendering justice to victims and boost the morale of families of martyrs and wounded of the revolution.

He urged the government to make every necessary material means available to the commission so that it can best fulfil its mission, noting that the Presidency of the Republic will provide it with a documentation relating to the former regime.

President of the National Constituent Assembly Mustapha Ben Jaafar said, on his part, that the commission will be tasked among others with repairing the harm done to victims of past abuses and hold perpetrators accountable of these abuses, in addition to the establishment of the principles of justice and entrenchment of the culture of human rights.

Ben Jaafar called on the civil society to support the commission' work, saying it is now the duty of the state to protect the rights of citizens and ensure that human rights violations will never happen again.

As for Interim Prime Minister Mehdi Jomaa, he emphasised the State's responsibility in meeting conditions likely to avoid seeing abuses of the past happen again, particularly through the reform of the state institutions.

Jomaa said the government will give the commission the resources it needs to carry out its work, adding that the authority has already been given an equipped and operational seat.

During the conference, the United Nations welcomed the launch of the "Truth and Dignity Commission."

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