Below, is a statement we have written questioning the Tunisian authorities on their decision to deny visas to Palestinians in Ramallah and Cairo.

Official Statement

The Heinrich Boell Foundation, Global Voices Online and Nawaat Association strongly condemn the decision by the Tunisian Embassy in Ramallah to deny 11 Palestinian bloggers and journalists visas to enter Tunisia in order to attend the Third Arab Bloggers Meeting from October 3rd until 6th 2011. Participants from more than fifteen Arab countries, as well as participants from countries such as Trinidad and Tobago, and Ghana, were granted visas to Tunisia.

We demand an explanation from the Tunisian Interior Ministry and seek clarification as to why Palestinian participants’ were denied. Among those denied visas were two key organizers of the conference, who are employees of the Heinrich Boell office in Ramallah; a Palestinian living in Egypt was also denied by the Tunisian Embassy of Cairo.

Nawaat Association contacted the Foreign Ministry and Border authorities of Tunisia more than two weeks prior to the conference, to inform them of both the subject of the conference and the participant list. At the time, there was no indication that Palestinian or other participants would be denied visas. After the participants’ visas were denied, Nawaat representatives returned to the Ministry to appeal the decision, but were unsuccessful.

In June of 2011, Nawaat co-organized a conference with Creative Commons, and faced no difficulties bringing Palestinian participants to Tunisia.

The Heinrich Boell Foundation, Global Voices Online, and Nawaat Association, as well as the undersigned participants of the Third Arab Bloggers Meeting, reiterate our condemnation for this decision by the Tunisian Embassy in Ramallah and the Interior Ministry.

An Arab Bloggers Meeting without participation from Palestinians is an offense to the long tradition of solidarity between Tunisia and Palestine, and deprives participants of a key contingent of the Arab blogging community.

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