Pillay to open first ever UN human rights office in Tunisia on 14 July
GENEVA, Switzerland, July 12, 2011/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay will open the first ever UN human rights office in a Mediterranean North African country on Thursday.
Pillay, who is undertaking a two-day visit to Tunisia from13-14 July, will sign a “host country agreement” with Minister of Foreign Affairs Mohamed Kefi on Wednesday, and then, following a meeting with Prime Minister Béji Caïd Essebsi, will open the new UN human rights office in the capital Tunis on Thursday.
Pillay sent a high-level mission to Tunisia in January shortly after widespread protests had led to the downfall of the government of President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali, and discussions about setting up an office in the country began soon afterwards.
It is the first time the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has been able to establish an office in any North African country bordering the Mediterranean, although an office was opened in Mauritania in 2010. The High Commissioner has also announced she plans to open a regional office in Cairo before the end of the year.
During her visit, the High Commissioner will express her continuing strong solidarity with the people of Tunisia, and pledge the support of herself and her staff for the sustained effort needed to bring about a successful democratic transition and embedding of strong human rights protections in Tunisian laws and official practices. There have already been a number of positive developments in the human rights field since the fall of the Ben Ali government, including ratification of key international human rights treaties, preparations for elections, and the establishment of greater freedom for the population.
The High Commissioner will conduct the formal opening of the office at 57 Avenue Taher Ben Achour, Mutuelleville, Tunis on Thursday at 10:30. The event will be open to the media and will be followed by a press conference at 12:00.
United Nations – Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)