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Arab Parallel Summit in Tunis A rousing call for more rights and equality from civil society

April 1st 2019

The 30th Arab Summit that took place in Tunis on March 31 unanimously rejected the US recognition of Israel's sovereignty over the Golan Heights. On the pan-Arab diplomatic level, the Summit failed to achieve a diplomatic rapprochement with Qatar, which left before the end of the meeting.

In parallel to this official summit, the civil society summit in North Africa was held at the headquarters of the Tunisian National Journalists' Union (SNJT) in Tunis.

During this "parallel summit" broadcasted on the second channel of the national television station, human rights activists from Tunisia and other from numerous North African countries, called on their leaders to fight for freedom of press and expression, for more respect for human rights, for the rights of women and minorities, for more social justice, for employment, and against corruption.

"Our goal is to move stagnant water in the Arab countries," SNJT President Néji Bghouri told Agence France Presse (AFP). We must "call on civil society to become a tool of firm pressure on these regimes", he added.

A hundred protesters also made their voices heard, in the streets of the Tunisian capital, against several Arab leaders present and the policies they were implementing, as well as for the Palestinian cause. "The street belongs to the people", "summit of shame," chanted the protesters.