Tunisia: Constitutional order must be restored!

On 22 September, by issuing an emergency decree, Tunisian President Kaïs Saïed gave himself full powers until further notice. By making the validity of the 2014 Constitution articles conditional on the content of this decree, the Tunisian President is taking a further step towards a regime concentrating executive, legislative and judicial powers. Together with other Tunisian and international actors, EuroMed Rights strongly denounces this move and expresses its deepest concerns for the respect of the rule of law, human rights and the role played by civil society since the 2011 revolution.

“To resolve such a political and constitutional crisis, the constitutional order must be restored! This order has simply been unilaterally abrogated by the Tunisian President, which is a dangerous turn towards authoritarianism,” said Wadih Al-Asmar, President of EuroMed Rights. “Respect for the separation of powers, fundamental freedoms and human rights is fundamental to meeting the democratic aspirations of the Tunisian people.”

EuroMed Rights stresses that if adjustments to the political system and the Constitution are envisaged, they can only be made through a dialogue involving all state structures, political parties and civil society actors, and not by a president acting without hindrance and without counter powers. Emergency can only be invoked under very specific conditions, as a temporary derogation subject to strict safeguards, and the rule of law must continue to prevail, as provided for in international human rights law.

“The emergency decree confers unlimited and uncontrolled powers on the presidency, and at the same time prevents any appeal on the legality of any act or law emanating from it, by removing the control of their constitutionality. EuroMed Rights is committed to supporting any process to break this deadlock, together with its members and partners in Tunisia,” added Rasmus Alenius Boserup, Executive Director of EuroMed Rights.