Tunis/Tunisia — The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in Tunisia expressed deep concern over ongoing serious human rights violations committed by internal security forces in Tunisia.During the first half of 2021, The Office of OHCHR has received detailed information relating to several serious incidents involving security forces, reads a statement.For OHCHR, it is undeniable that since 2011under the country's Constitution and its international commitments, Tunisia voluntarily committed to a process of democratisation and legislative reforms with the aim of upholding the rule of law and promoting and protecting human rights in Tunisian institutions, including the various services enforcing law.
A series of disturbing incidents occurred during the first half of 2021, which resulted in serious human rights violations by internal security forces, the same source said. Hence, in its January 28 statement, the National Authority for the Prevention of Torture (INPT) reported violations of the dignity and physical integrity of arrested persons, including minors, by law enforcement officials during its visits to many places of detention across the country following the mid-January riots.
In February, judicial authorities announced an investigation into the torture of a man in National Guard custody in Monastir.
On June 8, a young man died in still unclear circumstances while in police custody in Sidi Hassine Sejoumi (Tunis governorate).
In the context of the protests that erupted following this death, disturbing videos circulated on social media on June 9 showing members of the internal security forces, one hooded and equipped with an automatic rifle, in broad daylight, in the street and in front of witnesses, who appear to be forcibly stripping and molesting a young man lying on the ground, whom they then take away in a van.
These serious and repeated violations since the beginning of the year reveal continuing dysfunctions within the internal security services. Resolving it requires an unwavering commitment from both the executive and the judiciary branches for the purposes of accountability under the law, the OHCHR pointed out. The Office of the High Commissioner urges relevant authorities to initiate, without any delay, transparent and independent administrative and judicial investigations into each of these allegations. The punishment of those behind these violations will mark the end of the impunity of those responsible for law enforcement. The Government should increase efforts to translate its reiterated commitment to act in accordance with national and international human rights standards, into concrete and practical actions aimed at effectively guaranteeing rights, fundamental freedoms and the safety of individuals.The OHCHR Office in Tunisia stands ready to continue to provide technical support to the Ministries of the Interior and of Justice, in cooperation with the constitutional bodies for defending human rights as well as civil society to achieve this goal, the same source said.