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The role of NGOs and civil society during the Arab awakening. The cases of Egypt and Tunisia

The activity of NGOs and Tunisian civil society for the promotion and protection of human rights

Founded in 1976, the Ligue Tunisienne pour la défense des Droits de l'Homme (LTDH) is an association committed to the promotion and defense of human rights in Tunisia. It is one of the oldest league of human rights in Africa and the Arab world. LTDH has more than 3.000 members, who pay a symbolic fee of ten Tunisian dinars to cover the organization's costs. Because of fear of infiltration in its ranks of Islamic militants or people close to the government of Ben Ali, new memberships have been frozen since 1994. It is significant that executive board members are all volunteers. In addition to the headquarters located in Tunis, the association has ten regional branches. The membership of the group reflects a real model of civil organization, since it is composed of lawyers, doctors, teachers and also journalists. The organization, because of the opposition of the regime, has often had problems in developing its activities. In 1992, an amendment to the Associations Law forced LTDH to accept anyone wished to take part of, including militants of political party founded by Ben Ali, the Constitutional Democratic Rally (in French RCD, Rassemblement constitutionnel démocratique), without any possibility of reservation. The measure is no longer applied since March 1993, but the regime, over the years, has often prohibited the meetings of the organization. In 2005, for example, the dissolution of 14 sections – seven of which controlled by militants of RCD – organized in sight of the organization's conference scheduled for September, led to a judicial lock and to a freeze of association's activities. However, the steering Committee of LTDH continues to meet up weekly.
The association's goals are enounced in article 2 of its statute: "The association aims to defense and safeguard fundamental human freedoms, individual and public, set by the Tunisian Constitution and laws as well as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights". The reference to the UDHR of 1928 highlights the wider nature of the association's mission, and enlarges the body of protected rights. The League is accredited by many international authorities; its main task consists in writing special parallel rapports about human rights violations. Despite the difficulties under the era of Ben Ali, the organization has often played a fundamental role of counter-power, of pressure and lobbying without aspiring in any way to the seizure of power.

Among the LTDH most significant achievements there is the recent investigation mission performed together with the International Federation of Human Rights (FIDH). The LDTH mission focused on violations of human rights committed during the revolution period and since the beginning of transitional phase in Tunisia. The members of the investigation, accompanied by representatives of Conseil National pour les Libertés en Tunisie (CNLT), met many protesters who have been victims of violations of human rights in Tunis, Kasserine and Siliana, and also lawyers, judges and members of human rights organizations.
From December 17th 2010, date of start of the revolt, until January 14th 2011, the day of the departure of former President Ben Ali, the Internal Security Forces (ISF) have assumed the primary responsibility for the control of operations. Because of their usual brutal and prevaricating behaviour, the unpopularity of ISF was already high before the revolt; as a result of the repression, it reached record levels leading them, wittingly or unwittingly, for several weeks to disappear from the public space. The LTDH mission concentrated on the violence perpetrated by the security forces against demonstrators, and on the significant dysfunction within the police apparatus and the judiciary system that these violations have demonstrated. With regard to the need for justice expressed by the victims, LDTH has denounced that their voices have remained unheeded.

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The role of NGOs and civil society during the Arab awakening. The cases of Egypt and Tunisia

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Informazioni tesi

  Autore: Matteo Viola
  Tipo: Tesi di Laurea Magistrale
  Anno: 2011-12
  Università: Libera Univ. Internaz. di Studi Soc. G.Carli-(LUISS) di Roma
  Facoltà: Scienze Politiche
  Corso: Scienze politiche e delle relazioni internazionali
  Relatore: Bruna Graziosi Soravia
  Lingua: Inglese
  Num. pagine: 166

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Parole chiave

egypt
tunisia
mubarak
civil society.
ben alì
revolution
democratization
ngos
awakening
uprising

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