Monthly Archives: October 2011
Tunisia is slowly on the recovery trail after a revolution earlier this year led to the downfall of its dictatorial leader and sparked similar revolts around the Arab world.
On Sunday, the country will head to the polls to elect an assembly to decide on a new constitution – and the Tunisian world over want to partake in the process, with delegations from countries around Europe invited to get involved.
In Germany, home to a large expatriate Tunisian population, one delegate will be chosen from 15 candidates who have put themselves up for election to the constitutional assembly. The only woman among them is Amal Nasr, a 24-year-old art history student who lives in the western city of Bonn.
“There are 80.000 Tunisian who live here in Germany and they can all vote for me,” Amal says while standing in one of Bonn’s busiest shopping areas. The sun is shining today, and Amal’s outlook is equally full of promise.
Bonn is home to a significant Tunisian population and the city shut the Tunisian Consulate General hosts from back when it was the capital of West Germany. The major problem Amal faces, however, is identifying Tunisian on the streets and motivating them to play a part in the future of their homeland.
Germany, along with the United States, Russia and other European countries, sold weapons to volatile regimes in the Middle East and North Africa in past years, according to Amnesty International report released on Wednesday.
The report said the human rights abuses in countries ignored selling weapons to regimes that have since turned on their own people during the Arab Spring popular uprisings.
Amnesty is currently urging U.S. lawmakers to block a proposed $ 53 million (38-million-euro) U.S. arms sale to Bahrain, where more than 30 people have been killed as the ruling monarchy has waged crackdown against anti-government protesters.
“It’s precisely the wrong signal for the Obama administration to be on the verge of sending $ million 53 in weapons to a Bahraini king whose security forces have already been opening fire on peaceful protesters this year,” said Sanjeev Bery, Amnesty’s Washington-based advocacy director for Middle East and North Africa.
Amnesty said its findings showed the need for an international arms trade treaty to cut off the supply of weapons to countries seen at risk of raising arms against their own people.