Letter: Tunisia's path to pluralist democracy

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Sir: The article by Charles Richards ('Exiled 'demon' bemoans his fate', 7 January) calls for some comments on how Tunisia is genuinely handling its internal matters.

During the last five years Tunisia has been following a steady

approach aimed at building up a national consensus and has succeeded in setting up a pluralistic political environment.

Evidence to that effect is the emergence of six political parties in opposition, the profusion of more than 20 daily and weekly newspapers, and the boundless distribution of foreign publications in the country.

As to the fundamentalist phenomenon, whose supporters advocate violence and terrorism as a political means, Tunisia tackles this matter with forbearance in the long term.

It relies on economic development and not on security measures. As a result the country is experiencing an economic revival that was crowned on 6 January by the decision to make its national currency convertible.

This undertaking demonstrates the confidence of Tunisia in its people and their performance. It has led the director-general of the IMF to praise 'the vigour' of the country's economy and to hail 'the promising prospects for


One of the factors that favours these achievements is the social and political stability that Tunisia has been enjoying within an un- envied regional neighbourhood.

As for the policy of the promotion of human rights that has been pursued in Tunisia.

Among the many measures that have been fulfilled are the establishment of the higher committee for human rights and basic freedoms, whose prerogatives have

recently been expanded to include the inspection of prison and detention facilities, so as to assess the extent of the implementation of laws and regulations pertaining to pre-trial custody.

Yours faithfully,



Tunisian Information Bureau

London, W8

12 January