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Motion for a resolution - B9-0179/2023Motion for a resolution

MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION on  Tunisia: Recent attacks against freedom of expression and association and trade unions, in particular the case of journalist Noureddine Boutar

14.3.2023 - (2023/2588(RSP))

with request for inclusion in the agenda for a debate on cases of breaches of human rights, democracy and the rule of law
pursuant to Rule 144 of the Rules of Procedure

Jan‑Christoph Oetjen, Petras Auštrevičius, Malik Azmani, Nicola Beer, Dita Charanzová, Olivier Chastel, Katalin Cseh, Vlad Gheorghe, Bernard Guetta, Svenja Hahn, Moritz Körner, Karen Melchior, Javier Nart, Dragoş Pîslaru, Frédérique Ries, Michal Šimečka, Ramona Strugariu, Dragoş Tudorache, Hilde Vautmans, Salima Yenbou
on behalf of the Renew Group

See also joint motion for a resolution RC-B9-0171/2023

Procedure : 2023/2588(RSP)
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European Parliament resolution on  Tunisia: Recent attacks against freedom of expression and association and trade unions, in particular the case of journalist Noureddine Boutar


The European Parliament,

 - having regard to its previous resolutions on Tunisia, notably of 20 October 2021;

- having regard to Rules 144 of its Rules of Procedure;

  1. whereas Tunisia continues to receive substantial financial assistance from the EU;
  2. whereas President Said has been ruling without democratic checks and balances since 25 July 2021, dismissing the Government, dissolving the Assembly, the 2014 Constitution, the Independent High Authority for Elections, the High Judicial Council, all municipal councils and 57 judges, and extending the state of emergency;
  3. whereas a referendum on a new Constitution and sham legislative elections were held with low turnouts of respectively 30% and 11%; whereas a number of reforms were adopted by presidential decree, including Cybercrime decree-law No.54 imposing five-year prison sentences for spreading fake news;
  4. whereas on February 13, 2023 counter-terrorist units arrested journalist Noureddine Boutar, director of Tunisia's largest independent radio, alongside a dozen opposition voices including Chaima Issa, Issam Chebbi, Ghazi Chaouachi, Khayam Turki and Jaouhar BenMbarek; whereas a military court sentenced journalist Salah Attia to 3 months in prison; whereas a counter-terrorism court sentenced journalist Khalifa Gasmi to a year in prison; whereas on February 24, 2023 police raided newspaper OneTN, arresting journalists and seizing equipment; whereas people arrested were mainly presented as “terrorists” and “traitors”;
  5. whereas sub-Saharan migrants have been falsely accused of seeking to demographically replace Tunisians;
  6. whereas over 36 trade unionists are prosecuted for striking, ETUC Chief Esther Lynch was expelled from Tunisia on 23 February 2023 and unions from six EU countries were denied entry;
  7. whereas the NGO bill foresees NGOs' prior government approval and Central Bank approval for foreign funding;


  1. deeply deplores President Said's authoritarian drift and his instrumentalization of Tunisia's dire economic and political situation to stop the country's historical democratic transition;
  2. urges Tunisian authorities to immediately release those arbitrarily detained including journalists, judges, lawyers and political activists and withdraw charges based on unfounded allegations;
  3. urges authorities to immediately reinstate judges arbitrarily dismissed, and reverse all measures undermining judicial independence; deplores authorities' refusal to comply with the administrative court order to reinstate 49 judges; condemns the use of military and counter-terrorism courts to prosecute regime critics;
  4. urges the EU High Representative to publicly denounce the sharp deterioration of the human rights situation; underlines that specific EU support programmes to the Ministries of Justice and Interior Affairs should be suspended; calls on the EU Delegation and Member States to monitor and attend political trials;
  5. recalls that preserving representative institutions is fundamental to the country's development; expresses deep concern at the NGO bill, underlines the important contribution of a free and strong civil society including the Nobel Prize-awarded Tunisian National Dialogue Quartet;
  6. strongly condemns President Said's racist discourse against sub-Saharan migrants and the attacks that have ensued; notes the World Bank's decision to subsequently suspend its Country Framework programme;
  7. instructs its President to forward this resolution to the relevant parties.




Last updated: 14 March 2023
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