IRIS Actions / SMSI / Droits de l'homme - Human Rights

Tunisia and WSIS
Petition at the initiative of the WSIS Human Rights Caucus

September 26, 2003
To the attention of the Press and civil society organizations

The WSIS Human Rights caucus publishes today a petition regarding the venue of the second phase of the World Summit on the Information Society in Tunis in 2005, and the nomination of a highly controversed personnality as president of the organizing committee.

The text of the petition reminds that "the two principal objectives of the Summit, that is to say the struggle to overcome the digital divide and the respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in the information and communication society, cannot be dissociated from each other", and demands that "the holding of the second phase of the Summit in Tunis is subordinated to concrete signs by Tunisia that it respects human rights and fundamental freedoms, specially:
- the freeing of journalists and others held in prison for their opinions in Tunisia
- the appointment of a personality who is not the object of opprobrium at the head of the organizing committee of the second phase of the Summit
- the commitment to allow all civil society representatives from Tunisia and abroad to participate freely in the work of the Summit".

The WSIS Human Rights caucus has expressed its deep concerns with this regard during WSIS PrepCom3 in Geneva (15-26 September 2003) to many governmental delegations, including the group of European Union member States and accessing countries during a meeting organized with European civil society organizations.

This petition is published while the criminal complaint jointly lodged by the OMCT (World Organization Against Torture) and TRIAL (Track Impunity Always) has been shelved by the Canton of Geneva's General Prosecutor, with the motivation that "Article 12 of the headquarters agreement, which was signed in July 1971 by the Swiss Confederation and the International Telecommunications Union (which is holding the summit), provides immunity from arrest and detention for state representatives to the ITU". See the joint communique on the website of OMCT, a member of the Human Rights caucus (http://www.omct.org).

The text of the petition, with the list of first signatory organizations, is available in English, French and Spanish on the Human Rights Caucus website: http://www.iris.sgdg.org/actions/smsi/hr-wsis

The WSIS Human Rights caucus is pursuing the collection of signatures, from all the organisations concerned with the respect of human rights and fundamental freedoms, and of their major importance in an information and communication society.

Press Contact in Geneva: Christine Ferrier, OMCT, cf@omct.org, Tél: 00 41 22 809 49 39
Send signatures to Rikke Frank Jorgensen, DIHR, rfj@humanrights.dk
Web site: www.iris.sgdg.org/actions/smsi/hr-wsis

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