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Civil society: working to get justice for the people

The 2015 Nobel Peace Prize went to four different civil society organisations who came together for the public good. Recognising the role of organisations that represent the people comes at a time when too many governments around the world are closing the space for civil society by silencing voices, blocking funding and legislating to criminalise the voice of the people.

We see this across our network of more than 100 chapters fighting against corruption. From Egypt to Russia, we have in recent years witnessed how reactionary legislation further constricts the space for civil society to operate.

The National Dialogue Quartet

Tunisia was headed for divisive conflict following the Dignity Revolution, as it is called in Tunisia that saw former president Ben Ali ousted. Working to diffuse tensions and recognise that all parts of society have a right to speak out, the National Dialogue Quartet became pivotal in keeping the peace.

The group includes the Tunisian General Labour Union, the Tunisian Confederation of Industry, Trade and Handicrafts, the Tunisian Human Rights League and the Tunisian Order of Lawyers.

This is inspiring news. Congratulations to Tunisia and to all Arab civil society organisations. We hope that it will inspire Arab civil society to follow suit and remind governments in our region that the path of democracy, good governance, transparency and fighting corruption are the only principles that will allow Arab societies to make a difference in their quest for change, freedom, human rights, equality and justice.”

– Yahya Hakim, Secretary, Transparency International chapter Lebanon

The challenge in Tunisia will be to keep up the pressure and continue to demand that the voice of civil society be heard. There are currently draft laws that propose giving amnesty to the very same people who provoked the uprising in 2011.

Our partner I Watch Tunisia is battling to stop this from happening. At our recent annual meeting we passed a resolution calling for reconciliation and amnesty laws to achieve justice, accountability and social peace while upholding the principles of transparency and integrity. Amnesty laws should not be a backdoor option to legalising impunity.

Unmask the Corrupt

In our Unmask the Corrupt campaign we tell the story of how former president Ben Ali’s corrupt actions impoverished the state. Controlling an estimated fifth of all Tunisian business profits, Ben Ali’s clan is thought to have acquired a fortune of up to US$13 billion while in power. This is money that could have been spent on improving life for the people of Tunisia.

Our goal is to create a dialogue between people across the world on the devastating effects of corruption. Go to unmaskthecorrupt.org and join this important conversation and movement that will bring justice for those wronged.

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For any press inquiries please contact press@transparency.org

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