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From maiser@mail.icftu.org Wed Jul 18 12:08:34 2001
From: ICFTU Press <press@icftu.org>
To: ICFTU Online <icftu-online@mail.icftu.org>
Subject: ICFTU Online: Tunisia
Date: Wed, 18 Jul 2001 15:33:23 +0200
Sender: maiser@mail.icftu.org

The UGTT calls for greater liberties

ICFTU Online..., 131/180701/LB, 18 July 2001

Brussels, 18 July, 2001 (ICFTU Online): In his opening speech at the Regional Union of Workers Congress in Sfax on 14 July, the General Secretary of the General Union of Tunisian Workers (UGTT) Mr Abdesselem Jrad issued a strong call for greater democracy. In addition to evoking trade union issues and the various problems affecting the country, the General Secretary stressed the crucial role of the media in the current situation and the importance of uncensored information.

The Tunisian media, such as television and radio, must be open to all opinions. This will make it possible for enriching debates to take place and will curtail foreign media involvement in our country’s internal affairs. Mr Jrad went on to say that there should be no restrictions on having the entire population participate in the various debates concerning Tunisia.

At this point, Mr Abdesselem Jrad called that Tunisians exiled abroad return to their country and contribute to solving these problems.

The lack of UGTT representation as an organisation in the parliament the Chamber of Representatives was also brought up during the Congress. M. Jrad expressed his regret that the trade union centre, in its promotion of workers rights and initiating labour legislation, is often ignored loses out in discussions and the promulgation of these same laws.

Last January, the UGTT appealed asked all of the parties concerned to allow the Tunisian League for the Defence of Human Rights (LTDH) to work freely and independently.

In Brussels, ICFTU General Secretary Bill Jordan applauded the UGTT’s efforts to promote open national debate based on freedom of expression and opinions in Tunisia.