Last update:
2017-03-07

Henchir Jemna oasis, Tunisia

During the 2011 Revolution, the Association for the Protection of Jemna's Oases took over the Henchir Jemna oasis following a sit-in led by residents. Over 5 years, the harvest doubled but the state now claims ownership of the land.


Description:

Henchir Jemna is an oasis in the south of Kebili, now a symbol of resistance to Tunisian state policies. The date farm was first exploited by French settler colonialists, then by the state-owned STIL (Tunisian Society for Dairy Industries). At the start of the 2011 Tunisian revolution,  the oasis was a state-owned public property leased to private investors since 2002 [1].

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Basic Data
Name of conflict: Henchir Jemna oasis, Tunisia
Country:Tunisia
State or province:Kebili
(municipality or city/town)Jemna (Djemna)
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict: 1st level:Biomass and Land Conflicts (Forests, Agriculture, Fisheries and Livestock Management)
Type of conflict: 2nd level :Land acquisition conflicts
Other
Specific commodities:Land
Fruits and Vegetables
Project Details and Actors
Project details:

The 2016 harvest estimated at 1.7 million dinars ($760,000)

Project area:185
Type of populationUnknown
Affected Population:Local farmers and residents
Company names or state enterprises:Société Tunisienne de l’Industrie Laitière from Tunisia
Relevant government actors:Ministry of State Property and Ministry of Agriculture
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:The Association for the Protection of Jemna’s Oasis
Conflict and Mobilization
IntensityLOW (some local organising)
Reaction stageIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups mobilizing:Farmers
Local ejos
Landless peasants
Neighbours/citizens/communities
Forms of mobilization:Development of alternative proposals
Land occupation
Media based activism/alternative media
Refusal of compensation
Impacts of the project
Health ImpactsPotential: Mental problems including stress, depression and suicide
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment, Loss of livelihood, Violations of human rights, Land dispossession
Potential: Militarization and increased police presence
Outcome
Project StatusUnknown
Conflict outcome / response:Strengthening of participation
Attempt by the state to retrieve the oasis, freezing of the bank accounts of the association
Development of alternatives:The peasants are claiming for access to land under their control, and local development according to their own vision.
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Yes
Briefly explain:Since November 2016, little has been written about Jemna, it is therefore difficult to find out how the Association wishes to carry on with their fight.

But between 2011 and 2016, the Association, whose founding members work on a voluntary basis and align themselves with the social and solidarity-based economy, has been a major success story of how local populations when given access to their own resources can make communities flourish.
Sources and Materials
References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

[3] Mohamed Ali Sghaier (2016). Tunisie : Légère hausse du taux de chômage au deuxième trimestre de 2016, selon l’INS. 17 August 2016
[click to view]

[2] Tasnim Abderrahim (2016). Jemna: The challenge of local empowerment in the Tunisian hinterland. European Centre for Development Policy Management. 10 November 2016.
[click to view]

[4] Aziz Krichen (2016) Jemna: The peasant question and democratic revolution. NAWAAT. 17 November 2016
[click to view]

[1]Emma Djilali (2016). Dates with destiny: Tunisian oasis fights for land. The New Arab. 12 October 2016.
[click to view]

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

Documentary (Arabic with ENG and FR subtitles)
[click to view]

Other documents

Workers and residents in Henchir Jemna oasis and date farm
[click to view]

Farmers and residents in Henchir Jemna oasis and date farm
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:Platform London
Last update07/03/2017
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