Tunisia’s state of emergency will end today unless it is extended again. The country has been in a state of emergency since a suicide attack killed 12 presidential security servicemen in 2015.
The measure means businesses face considerable restrictions. Free expression of the press, film and theatre productions is disallowed and authorities can search businesses and homes without warrants. By February 2017, 138 people were placed under house arrest and there were at least 23 cases of torture or maltreatment by police. When protests were held against austerity measures last January, 773 were arrested.
On the other hand, a safer Tunisia provides an incentive for foreign investors to return. According to the Global Terrorism Database, 145 people in 40 terror incidents were killed in the two years preceding the state of emergency while only 4 died in 16 incidents in the two years afterwards.
If the state of emergency finally ends, expect private citizens and businesses to face less zealous treatment by authorities. If the state of emergency is again renewed, expect Tunisia’s security to continue to improve.
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Saira is an analyst in the Current Developments team, where she focuses her research on the Middle East and North Africa region.