Delegate Name: Rishika Kokkula
The right to peaceful protest is more important than ever, considering the political tensions all over the world. Although many individual nations have established the right to peacefully protest, there still remains an international law on this matter. Tunisia in particular recognizes the growing need to address this issue as the Tunisian government have used violent methods to cease peaceful protests in the past. Some agreements have been created such as the right to peacefully assemble through the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, but a distinction still exists between protesting and assembling as national security is prioritized over the individual right to protest. This results in government violence, and in response the need for international attention.
Tunisia undoubtedly faces serious security threats in regards to protests, and their government has suspended citizens’ rights in a state of emergency in order to preserve safety. Following this, the government proposed a nationwide ban on all public demonstrations. The implementation of this law would be a grave setback of rights in Tunisia, and is not favored by citizens. Furthermore, Interior Minister Najem Gharsalli has declared that “any peaceful protest would be contrary to the emergency law”, confirming the ban. On many occasions Tunisian police have attacked and even hospitalized citizens who were protesting. The Human Rights Watch, a non-governmental international association, has been closely monitoring Tunisian authorities and their violation of human rights. Tunisia has even ratified the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights which states that no restrictions may be opposed on the right to peacefully protest. The main priorities of the Tunisian government at this point in time is to apply this law and maintain national security while also giving citizens their right to protest. This issue unequivocally requires international cooperation from the United Nations in order to protect the safety of citizens worldwide.
Though Tunisia has a long way to go on the subject of ending political violence and maintaining human rights, they urge that SOCHUM focuses its efforts on establishing international rights to peacefully protest. A balance between keeping citizens in line with their protesting, but also allowing them to exercise their right to do so is necessary. Tunisia will endorse any resolution that will institute the creation of laws that support this balance. The occurrence of violence should not stop people from expressing their political rights, and therefore international laws should be implemented to protect the safety of citizens.