Tunisia has suspended all flights of the Emirates Airlines because the airline refuses to carry Tunisian women, Tunisia has now suspended all flights of the airline. The suspension applies until the airline finds “a reasonable solution” to the problem, the Tunisian Ministry of Transport said on Sunday.
According to an Emirates spokesman, all flights between Tunis and Dubai will be suspended from Monday.
According to several female Tunisian passengers, the crew of the airline since Friday refused to allow them to board the aircraft. The airlines did not give a reason for that, but only said that female passengers with a Tunisian passport should not enter the United Arab Emirates – not even for transfer flights. After fierce protests, the authorities in Dubai spoke of “security issues” that made such a “provisional” measure necessary.
In Tunisia, the exclusion of female passengers from the Emirates flights caused days of outrage in social media, and several non-governmental organizations spoke of a “discriminatory decision” that violates the dignity and rights of women.
Anwar Gargash, the UAE foreign minister, said on Twitter: “We contacted our Tunisian brothers about security information that necessitated taking specific procedures.”
“We should avoid misleading attempts … We highly value Tunisian women and respect them,” he added, without elaborating.
Since the Tunisian revolution in 2011, relations between Tunisia and the United Arab Emirates have deteriorated significantly. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) appears to have intelligence reports that Tunisians or women with Tunisian identity cards may be planning a terrorist attack in the Gulf state. A spokeswoman for the presidential office in Tunis told radio station Shams FM that authorities in the UAE had warned them about possible attacks on Emirati aircraft. The newspaper “Gulf News” reported about returnees from Syria and Iraq, who had fought there for “Islamic State” and now present a risk.