UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Ms. Navi Pillay, has strongly condemned the assassination on Thursday of a Tunisian opposition leader, Mohammed Brahmi, and called on the authorities to investigate the murder.
She also urged Tunisian citizens to stand united against attempts to derail the country’s democratic transition.
‘I am shocked and deeply saddened by the news of Mohamed Brahmi’s assassination. I call upon the authorities to immediately launch a prompt and transparent investigation to ensure that the people who carried out this crime are held accountable,” Ms. Pillay said in a statement.
She stated that the assassination of Mr. Brahmi, which coincided with the 56th anniversary of the Declaration of the Tunisian Republic, risked upsetting the vital constitution-making process that was in its final stages.
She also urged all actors in Tunisia, including the government, opposition, the general public and civil society to stand firm and united in the face of political violence, and defend everyone’s freedom to hold and express diverse political views.
‘The Tunisian authorities must take very serious measures to investigate these assassinations, identify the culprits and bring them to justice,” Ms. Pillay said.
‘It is also crucial that they offer better protection to people who, like Mr. Brahmi, are clearly at risk,’ she said.
She urged the government to take strong measures to show it would enforce the rule of law, and do its utmost to deter these terrible acts which appeared to be designed to inflame the situation and undermine the democratic transition in Tunisia.
Mr. Brahmi, a member of the National Constituent Assembly, was shot dead in front of his daughter outside of his house in a Tunis suburb.
This is the third killing of this kind in the past ten months. In October, Lofti Nagdh was killed and in February, Chokri Belaid, another opposition member, was assassinated in similar circumstances to Mr. Brahmi’s murder.
Tunisia has been undergoing a democratic transition since massive public demonstrations overthrew long-standing leader Zine El Abidine Ben Ali in January 2011.
The actions of Tunisian citizens sparked the wave of popular uprisings across North Africa and the Middle East that became known as the Arab Spring, which also led to the toppling of regimes in Egypt, Libya and Yemen.