European workers group condemns repression of trade unions & civil society in Tunisia

European workers group condemns repression of trade unions & civil society in Tunisia

The Workers’ Group of the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) has voiced deep concern over the continuing deterioration of the respect for fundamental rights in Tunisia, including attacks on the rights of trade unions and workers.

In a press release issued Wednesday, the EESC workers group denounced the expulsion of Esther Lynch, the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) General Secretary, after she joined Tunisian trade unions in a peaceful protest in Sfax on February 18.

As President Kais Saied tightens his authoritarian grip on the country, the Workers’ Group joins with the ETUC and the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), in condemning this action and in raising concerns about the erosion of democracy and the rule of law in Tunisia.

Tunisia has been a beacon of hope in the Arab region following its Jasmine Revolution in 2011, which ended the country’s twenty-three-year dictatorship and ignited the Arab Spring.

However, since his election in 2019, President Saied’s actions have systematically weakened democratic institutions, cracking down on political opponents and civil society, notably trade unions.

Additionally, the Saied government’s policies, including its austerity measures, have significantly damaged Tunisia’s economy, society and working people’s daily life.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Volker Türk, has expressed concern over arbitrary arrests and detentions, as well as measures that continue to undermine the independence of the judiciary.

The Workers’ Group joins with all those calling for the immediate release of all trade unionists and militants, human rights defenders and all other civil society representatives currently detained and for a return to the respect of fundamental rights and the rule of law.

Oliver Röpke, the Workers’ Group President said: “The Workers Group extends its solidarity to the Tunisian General Labor Union (UGTT) and the Tunisian people at this difficult time. The European Union must take action to ensure that the Tunisian government understands that continued partnership with the EU is dependent on upholding democracy and the rule of law, so that the aspirations of the Tunisian people can be achieved.”


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