Tunisia Country Report: Monitoring ENP Progress Report 2013

Tunisia Country Report: Monitoring ENP Progress Report 2013

1.    Freedom of peaceful assembly and association

In Tunisia self-appointed committees to defend the revolution are multiplying and establishing branches around the country. Despite the fact that freedom of assembly was guaranteed as a result of the revolution, the General Tunisian Labour Union has been attacked on many occasions by the self-appointed committees.

2.    Freedom of expression and information

In Tunisia, freedom of expression and civil society organisations are under constant pressure. For example, the national conference for dialogue that was held by the Tunisian Labour Union was boycotted by the two major actors in Tunis. On the other hand, as a result of union pressure, an independent high authority for audio-visual communication (HAICA) finally emerged, and was announced on the occasion of world press freedom day. Internet censorship has significantly decreased but pressure remains on civil society and trade unions.

3.    Democratic transition and civil dialogue

The Constituent Assembly in Tunisia voted to hold its next elections before 29 December 2013.  The administrative court has prevented the creation of an independent body to organise elections that does not comply with the procedures. Following the introduction of a new law on Associations in September 2011, around 4000 new organisation and unions have been created. Today, civil society in Tunisia plays an important role in democratic transition, electoral awareness, election observation, constitutional dialogue etc. 

 4.    Respect for labour rights and decent work

Tripartite dialogue has been renewed and the government has launched a road map. High unemployment (44% youth) continues and although the national priority of 2011 concerning social cohesion has been pursued many programmes have only been short term. The unemployed are largely unable to organize and produce coherent demands. The existing unions are drowned in the socio economic situation.

5.    Access and coverage of quality services

Together with the EU and the WHO a health sector reform was pursued but no progress has been reported especially in disadvantaged areas, due to a lack of manpower and material. The EU launched a project for the amelioration of interregional inequalities especially in primary care and supported complimentary initiatives. Social security coverage generally is weak and many depend on the mercy of the employer.

 6.    Ensuring income support

Transfer payments for diploma holders looking for work have been made, under a programme to encourage employment and more people who met certain criteria have been granted transfer payments. These were short term fund allocations and have since been cancelled which led the unions to pressure for an unemployment fund. Projects aimed at ameliorating youth employment have not reached their objectives.

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