Following the deadly terrorist attacks at a beach resort on June 26th that killed 39 people, Tunisia is answering the call for an increased security presence. A government minister of Tunisia, Kamel Jendoubi, on Saturday announced an increase of 100,000 security personnel to help protect the country from future terrorist attacks. The strengthened security measures include doubling the security presence at tourist locations such as beaches, hotels, and archaeological sites. The increase follows travel advisory warnings recently issues by the UK, Denmark, Finland, Ireland, and other nations that cater to the tourist traffic in the country.
The Human Rights Watch (HRW) has warned that arbitrarily increased security measures in Tunisia threaten the human rights progress achieved by the 2011 uprising and enactment of the Tunisia Constitution. On Friday the HRW criticized arbitrary travel restrictions imposed by the Tunisian government as a violation of Tunisia and international law. The restrictions are primarily imposed on men and women under the age of 35 with the intended purpose of reducing the amount of citizens traveling abroad to join armed extremist groups. Although I do not want to see a country that has recently embraced a more democratic form of government to fall into a tyrannical state in the name of security, in this case I strongly feel the measures are justified, at least temporarily.
Other nations have also imposed similar travel restrictions and special counter-terrorism laws to combat the problem posed by the Islamic State and other similarly inspired groups. However, the Tunisian beachfront communities and the country as a whole rely on tourism to their pristine Mediterranean beaches as a source of economic vitality. In this instance, I strongly support their measures as long as the threat remains. The time to act is now.