Forgotten World (194): Tunisia

The north African state of Tunisia gained its independence from France in 1956. It then endured the rule of “president for life” Habib Bourguiba until 1987. Since then, President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali has continued to move the country away from Islamic extremism but the path to democracy remains painfully slow. Although Tunisia has introduced some press freedoms and has freed a number of political prisoners, human rights groups say the authorities tolerate no dissent, harrassing government critics and rights activists.
Tunisia – a country of over 10 million – is more prosperous than its neighbours and has strong trade links with Europe. Agriculture employs a large part of the workforce, and dates and olives are cultivated in the drier regions. Millions of European tourists flock to Tunisian resorts every year.


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