Samir Dilou, minister of human rights and transitional justice, met yesterday, January 13, in Tunis with representatives of the families of the martyrs and wounded of the 2008 uprising in the southwestern town of Redeyef and declared that the government will compensate them for their losses.
Residents of Redeyef in the phosphate-rich governorate of Gafsa have been protesting for almost a month against their exclusion from Decree 97, which compensates only the martyrs’ families and wounded of the Jasmine revolution. Yesterday’s declarations by Dilou seem to have done little to salve the frustrations of Redeyef locals.
Subsequent to the meeting, Dilou declared that those affected by the 2008 uprising will benefit from compensation schemes similar to those provided in Decree 97, reported state news agency TAP.
Dilou stated that the martyrs’ relatives and the wounded of the Redeyef uprising will be prioritized in local public sector hirings and granted free medical treatment and transport cards. They will be partially paid in advance before receiving the full sum of their compensation package, added the minister.
“The implementation of these provisions is scheduled for the coming days,” Dilou told TAP.
Dilou’s declarations were unwelcomed by trade unionists as well as the inhabitants of Redeyef, who protested this morning.
Adnene Hajji, spokesman of the Movement of Social Protest in the Gafsa Mining Basin, participated in today’s demonstration.
“This protest is a reaction to yesterday’s scandal,” said Hajji.
According to Hajji, Dilou did not necessarily met representatives of the families of the martyrs and wounded from Redeyef.
“Dilou met only with four out of the 30 wounded. These four people represent only themselves because they sold their principles for money,” stated Hajji. “Yesterday’s agreement is pure fraud done by the government to mislead the public opinion.”
For Hajji, the issue is not the financial remuneration in Decree 97 but rather legislative acknowledgement of the role that Redeyef’s residents played in setting the stage for the Jasmine revolution.
“Martyrs’ families and the injured do not need the financial compensation of 3,000 dinars ($1,900) or these medical treatment cards. They demand their inclusion in Decree 97 and will not accept anything else,” he said.
Hajji said that a protest will be held in front of the National Constituent Assembly (NCA) on January 17 to protest against the exclusion in Decree 97, which was passed by the NCA on December 19, 2012.
The 2008 uprising was carried out by Redeyef’s inhabitants to protest against what they considered as unfair hiring practices by the Gafsa Phosphate Company after the results of a round of hiring were made known on January 8, 2008. Five locals were killed and 41 wounded amidst the unrest. The local economy of Gafsa is largely dependent on the production of phosphate.