On Friday, the UAE airline banned Tunisian women from boarding its flights until further notice, sighting security concerns to “protect its territory and its airlines.”
Emirates will stop services between Tunis and Dubai, as instructed by the Tunisian authorities, with effect from 25 December 2017
بناء على تعليمات السلطات التونسية، وابتداء من اليوم الاثنين، تعلق طيران الامارات رحلاتها من تونس واليها، وحتى اشعار آخر
— Emirates airline (@emirates) December 24, 2017
Tunisian women who had tried to board Emirates flights in Tunis, Abu Dhabi and Beirut were prevented from doing so by airline authorities, based on claims by UAE authorities to have received “serious security information about the possibility of a terrorist attack” by female Tunisian passport holders.
A statement released on the Facebook page of Tunisia’s transport ministry revealed that it “has decided to suspend flights of Emirates Airlines to and from Tunisia until the company can find a suitable solution to operate its flights in accordance with international laws and treaties”.
Subsequently, according to Al Jazeera, Salem Zeabi, the UAE ambassador to Tunisia, was called to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Friday to “provide clarification on the measure banning” Tunisian women from flying to or transiting through the Gulf state’s territory.
One of the women prevented from boarding a transit flight at the Tunis-Carthage International Airport on Friday described the ban as “degrading to Tunisian women and our nationality.”
“When we arrived here, we found the situation really chaotic. They (Emirates Airlines staff) told me that a Tunisian woman under the age of 30, with a Tunisian passport, can’t get on the Emirates flight,” she said.
“I told them it was just a transit flight – they told me, ‘No, don’t step foot on the plane.'”
“So the daughter and the mum stay in Tunisia but the husband and son can travel. Is this logical? It’s degrading. It’s degrading to the Tunisian woman, to our nationality – to everything”.
The Star published a report claiming the Tunisian government was trying “to smooth out emerging tensions with the United Arab Emirates“.
The report claims that a spokesperson for the Tunisian president described the ban as “understandable” but carried out in an “unacceptable” manner.
Meanwhile, social media users have accused the ban by Emirates as ‘sexist’ and ‘racist’.
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