Tunisia (November 2010)

The Law Society of Upper Canada Condemns the Harassment and Persecution of Judges in Tunisia 

The Law Society of Upper Canada publicly condemns the harassment and persecution of judges in Tunisia. The reprisal of judges for advocating for judicial independence and being critical of the government undermines democracy and the rule of law. 

Reports indicated that since 2005, former members of the Association of the Tunisian Judges have been subjected to politically motivated persecution and harassment. This harassment and persecution includes being arbitrarily transferred to remote locations, hundreds of kilometres away from their families, having these assignments extended, being denied promotions, having arbitrary and repeated deductions of large portions of their salaries and having been regularly prevented from travel to participate in meetings and conferences linked to their professional activities.

The Law Society of Upper Canada is deeply concerned about judges in Tunisia who can be subjected to harassment and persecution for criticizing public authorities. Therefore, The Law Society of Upper Canada urges the Government of Tunisia to, 

  1. guarantee in all circumstances the physical and psychological integrity of judges and put an end to acts of harassment and persecution of all judges in Tunisia;
  2. publicly recognize the importance and legitimacy of the work of judges and their contributions to the strengthening of democracy and the rule of law;
  3. ensure that all judges can carry out their peaceful and legitimate activities without fear of harassment and persecution; and 
  4. ensure in all circumstances respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with international human rights standards and international instruments ratified by Tunisia.

The Law Society of Upper Canada is the governing body for some 42, 000 lawyers and 3000 paralegals in the Province of Ontario, Canada and the Treasurer is the head of the Law Society. The mandate of the Law Society is to govern the legal profession in the public interest by upholding the independence, integrity and honour of the legal profession for the purpose of advancing the cause of justice and the rule of law.

The Law Society urges the legal community to intervene in support of members of the legal profession in Tunisia in their effort to advance the respect of human rights and to promote the rule of law and democracy.