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Thursday, July 10, 2008

Tunisians issues pushed with French President

Paris, 10 July 2008
For immediate release

Press Freedom Groups Raise Tunisian Concerns With French President

A coalition of international press freedom organisations has asked French President Nicolas Sarkozy not to underestimate human rights violations in Tunisia as he seeks to create a Union for the Mediterranean at a summit meeting in Paris on Sunday, 13 July.

The World Association of Newspapers and 17 press freedom organisation wrote to Mr Sarkozy on Thursday to express their “extreme concern” over “the Tunisian authorities' tendency to resort to censorship, intimidation and violence.”

“It seems essential that the French government does not underestimate the seriousness of the human rights violations in Tunisia,” said members of the International Freedom of Expression Exchange’s Tunisia Monitoring Group, in the letter to Mr Sarkozy, who will preside over a meeting in Paris on Sunday to establish the Union for the Mediterranean.

“It is furthermore essential that France adopts and promotes a policy in accordance with the values of the Republic, by inviting the Tunisian authorities to respect their international human rights obligations, specifically those in favour of freedom of expression and the press.”

Members of the Tunisia Monitoring Group include: Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (Egypt); ARTICLE 19 (United Kingdom); Canadian Journalists for Free Expression; Cartoonists Rights Network International (United States); Egyptian Organization for Human Rights; Index on Censorship (United Kingdom); International Federation of Journalists; International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions; International Press Institute; International Publishers' Association; Journaliste en danger (Democratic Republic of Congo); Maharat Foundation (Lebanon); Media Institute of Southern Africa; Norwegian PEN; World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters; World Association of Newspapers; World Press Freedom Committee; and theWriters in Prison Committee of International PEN.

The full letter can be read at article17627.html

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