Tunisia: Support for the democratic transition

A woman is voting in Tunisia.
Switzerland is supporting the transition to democracy in Tunisia. © SDC

Since the political upheaval in 2011 set in motion a lengthy and uncertain transition process in North Africa, Switzerland has been supporting the transition to democracy in Tunisia through a variety of projects.
As part of the Democracy Without Borders initiative, project ambassador and former National Councillor Andreas Gross visited Tunisia at the end of May 2016.

Switzerland supports democratic transition and the protection of human rights in Tunisia through its involvement in a number of projects. It assists in the conduct of elections – such as the parliamentary and presidential elections of 2014, which were generally regarded as free and fair. Through its projects, Switzerland is helping to strengthen Tunisian civil society and the rule of law, and reform the country’s security sector. Besides promoting reliable and independent state media coverage, Switzerland has also advocated the creation of a national torture prevention mechanism. In addition, Swiss support includes providing specific assistance to victims of torture.

Launch of Making Peace 

Project ambassador and former National Councillor Andreas Gross visited Tunisia at the end of May 2016 as part of the Democracy Without Borders initiative. He took part in a ceremony to mark the launch of Making Peace – an awareness-raising outdoor photography exhibition in Tunis, organised by the Swiss embassy in Tunisia. In her speech to open the exhibition, the Swiss ambassador to Tunisia, Rita Adam, explained that by organising exhibition, Switzerland wanted to draw attention to the democratic and peaceful transition that is under way in Tunisia, and to the ability of Tunisians to solve conflicts through dialogue. She added that the four civil society organisations (the Tunisian National Dialogue Quartet) that had been working to promote national dialogue were deserving recipients of the 2015 Nobel Peace Prize. Three of the four members of the quartet were present at the opening ceremony. 

Portraits of Nobel Prize laureates 

The Making Peace exhibition features portraits of various Nobel Prize laureates. It aims to inform a broad audience about the key things that need to be done to ensure lasting peace. Making Peace has already been displayed in various cities and is now on show for three months in an Arab country for the first-ever time. 

The role of project ambassador Andreas Gross 

Prominent politicians and journalists were among the people Andreas Gross met in Tunis. The former National Councillor has visited Tunisia several times in recent years, including as head of the Council of Europe’s election observation missions in 2011 and 2014. By visiting the Tunisian capital, Mr Gross was lending his support to the country’s democratic transformation process.