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The New Arab

Tunisia slams 'illegal' UAE travel ban on Tunisian women

The travel ban has sparked a wave of fierce criticism in Tunisia [Getty]

Date of publication: 23 December, 2017

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A controversial blanket travel ban on Tunisian women by the UAE has led to angry reactions in Tunis.

Furious Tunisian officials have summoned the UAE ambassador for a dress down after the Gulf state imposed a controversial travel ban on Tunisian women.

Tunisia's foreign ministry called for the envoy on Friday in the wake of the sudden ban on Tunisian women entering the UAE, the state-run TAP news agency reported.

The agency quoted the Emirati diplomat as saying that the measures were "temporary and relating to security arrangements" and that the ban had been lifted.

Earlier on Friday, the Tunisian ministry of transport condemned the move as "illegal" and "contradictory to the regulations in force in international civil aviation".

An internal Emirates Airline email that was published in local media revealed that a temporary ban had been put in place on women from the North African country.

"All Tunisian female nationals are denied entry to the UAE, this also applies to customer transferring Dubai for onward flight," the leaked email said, without clarifying the reason behind the decision.

The travel ban has sparked a wave of fierce criticism in Tunisia.

A Tunisian foreign ministry spokesman told The New Arab on Friday that sudden ban would be dealt with "to maintain the dignity of Tunisians".

Imed Daimi, the leader of the Harak Tounes al-Irada party, struck a harsher tone.

"We consider this unjustified and surprising decision an infringement on Tunisia's reputation and for explicitly on Tunisian women," Daimi said.

"The move seems to be political and its aim is to put pressure on Tunisia to fall in line on Arab issues," he added.

Many Tunisian social media users slammed the move, accusing the UAE of discrimination against women.

Relations between the two countries have been strained in the years following the 2011 Tunisian uprising with the UAE seen as attempting to try roll back the democratic gains of the Arab Spring revolutions.

In February, the UAE lifted visa restrictions on Tunisians that had been imposed two years earlier.

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