Tunisia: Pact for Equality, Individual Freedom

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Tunis, July 24, 2018 - More than 90 organizations and civil society groups in Tunisia on July 24, 2018 issued a Pact for Equality and Individual Freedoms, outlining the fundamental rights that all Tunisians should enjoy. This pact is being issued to confirm a commitment to a civilian and democratic Tunisian Republic in the wake of the publication of the report of the presidentially appointed Commission for Individual Freedoms and Equality on June 12.

The commissions’ proposals aim to place human rights at the heart of the Tunisian justice system and to get rid of laws that governments had long used as tools of repression. The signatories outline 10 points based on the commission’s main recommendations and call on the authorities to integrate them into legislation as soon as possible. An event to mark the adherence to the pact will be held at 5 p.m. on July 24 in the Omar Khlifi room of the Cité de la Culture.

"Tunisia is at an important turning point in its history. Its recent gains in the field of democracy will remain very fragile unless the foundation of individual freedoms and equality among all Tunisian citizens is strengthened."

Yosra Frawes, president of the Tunisian Association of Women Democrats

President Beji Caid Essebsi created the commission for Individual Freedoms and Equality on August 13, 2017, National Women’s Day. He tasked it with recommending reforms "relating to individual freedoms and equality, which stem from the provisions of the constitution of January 27, 2014, international human rights standards, and current trends in the area of freedoms and equality." The chair of the nine-member commission is Bochra Bel Haj Hmida, a member of parliament. 

In its report, the commission recommends decriminalizing sodomy, guaranteeing equal inheritance rights for men and women, revoking laws based on "morality," and abolishing the death penalty, among other actions.

"Today it is the responsibility of all political actors, including the president of the republic and parties represented in Parliament, to set everything in motion to turn into law the recommendations and principles contained in the commission’s report and reiterated in this pact,"

Nessryne Jelali, president of Al Bawsala [The Compass]

Based on the principles of freedom, equality and dignity, the pact also calls for the abolition of the death penalty, as well as of all forms of discrimination, regardless of the justification or alleged basis.

"Human rights have long been obscured in the Tunisian justice system, which preferred to sanction authoritarianism and the dominance of uniformity of thought in the political and societal fields over respect for individual liberty,"

Dimitris Christopoulos, president of International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH)

The pact calls for strengthening efforts to end torture and all other forms of violations of human dignity, as well to respect sexual freedom and gender orientation, inherent in fundamental human rights. It makes the presumption of innocence and the guarantee of access to a fair trial, as well as a prohibition on arbitrary arrests, central elements of the rule of law.

"Tunisians have rejected many forms of oppression since the revolution, but now needs a real legislative revolution to set out that individual Tunisians, as creators of values, standards, and wealth for themselves and for the community, should be protected from arbitrary interference by the state or other parties,"

Amna Guellali, Human Rights Watch director in Tunisia

The right to privacy, freedom of conscience and thought, freedom of expression, and academic and artistic freedoms are also considered fundamental rights and represent pillars of a democratic, creative and pluralist society.

"Tunisia’s history has been marked by progressive laws, such as the 1956 Code on Personal Status and the 2014 Constitution. Today, the logical next step to complete this trajectory would be to adopt the Code for Individual Freedoms and the Code for Equality as recommended by the Commission,"

Jinan Limam, president of the Tunisian Association for Individual Freedoms
For further information, please contact:
Amna Guellali (anglais, français, arabe) : 216-24-485-324 (portable) ; ou guellaa@hrw.org. Twitter : @aguellaa
Yosra Frawes : (anglais, français, arabe) : 216-21298312 (portable) ; ou yf@fidh.org
Wahid Ferchichi : (anglais, français, arabe) : 216-22254711 (portable) ; ou wahidferchichi2014@gmail.com
Lamine Ben Ghazi : (anglais, français, arabe) : 216-51948708 (portable) ; ou lamine.benghazi@albawsala.com
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  • Co-signatories

    List of signatories 

    1. Coalition tunisienne contre la peine de mort
    2. Association tunisienne des femmes démocrates
    3. Association Tunisienne de Défense des Libertés Individuelles
    4. Association tunisienne de défense des valeurs universitaires
    5. Association tunisienne de défense des droits de l’enfant
    6. Association Tunisienne de Lutte contre les Maladies Sexuellement Transmissibles et le Sida, Tunis
    7. Ligue tunisienne de défense des droits de l’Homme
    8. Forum tunisien des droits économiques et sociaux
    9. Syndicat national des journalistes tunisiens
    10. Association Al Bawsala
    11. Association L’Art Rue
    12. Association des femmes tunisiennes pour la recherche sur le développement
    13. Association Beity
    14. Association Tahadi
    15. Association Shams
    16. Association Ensemble
    17. Association Dissonances
    18. Association « Vigilance » pour la démocratie et l’Etat Civil
    19. Damj – Association tunisienne pour la justice et l’égalité
    20. Ligue des électrices tunisiennes
    21. Initiative Mawjoudin pour l’égalité
    22. Centre de soutien à la transition démocratique et aux droits de l’Homme
    23. Forum des femmes africaines
    24. Réseau EUROMED droits
    25. Fédération Internationale des droits de l’Homme
    26. Soyons actifs / actives
    27. Fondation Heinrich Böll
    28. OXFAM
    29. Avocats sans frontières
    30. Human Rights Watch
    31. Legal Agenda
    32. Association femme et citoyenneté – El Kef
    33. Association Tunisie Terre des Hommes
    34. Fédération Tunisienne pour une citoyenneté des deux rives
    35. Association de développement et de l’encadrement des jeunes et de l’enfance - Jendouba
    36. Collectif Civil Soumoud
    37. Association Sounbola
    38. Association Egalité Parité
    39. Association Trait d’Union
    40. Association tunisienne de soutien des minorités
    41. Association Joussour Citoyenneté – Le Kef
    42. Association de la créativité scolaire
    43. Association Citoyenneté et Libertés
    44. Association Mouwatinet
    45. Association pour la promotion du Droit à la Différence
    46. Association Citoyens & Solidaires
    47. Observatoire pour la défense du droit à la différence
    48. Groupe Tawhida Ben Cheikh pour la Recherche & Action en santé des femmes
    49. Association Tunisie Culture et Solidarité – Paris
    50. Organisation mondiale contre la Torture
    51. Association byالحوم
    52. Centre de Tunis pour la liberté de la presse
    53. Association Tunisienne pour l’Intégrité et la Démocratie des Elections
    54. Coalition des femmes de Tunisie
    55. Enda Inter-arabe
    56. Association tunisienne de prévention positive
    57. Association Tunisienne de la Santé reproductive
    58. Association free sight
    59. Association le manifeste de la culture
    60. Association Chouf
    61. Initiative Al-Sajine 52
    62. Amnesty International – Section Tunisie
    63. Association Al Kahina pour la Culture et le Développement
    64. Association CALAM
    65. Psychologues du Monde
    66. Association Le chemin de la Dignité
    67. Association Citoyenneté Paritaire – Tigar
    68. Association de la femme rurale – Jendouba
    69. Organisation Horra
    70. Association Waai
    71. Association Unies-vers-elles
    72. Association Magida Boulila pour la Modernité – Sfax
    73. Association Aswat Nissaa
    74. Association Fanni Raghman Anni
    75. Conseil International des Femmes Entrepreneures
    76. Conseil Tunisien de Sécularisme
    77. Association Jamaity
    78. Association Lam Echaml
    79. Association Manifeste pour le Développement et la Citoyenneté – Beja
    80. Association M’nemty
    81. Organisation Tunisienne pour la justice sociale et la Solidarité
    82. Réseau Doustourna
    83. Réseau national des éducateurs pairs Y-PEER Tunisie
    84. Association Femmes et Leadership
    85. Association Frida
    86. Organisation de l’Education et de la Famille
    87. Association de Développement pour l’éducation et la famille
    88. Association Nimaa’ pour le développement et la démocratie
    89. Association Voix du Peuple
    90. Association Al-Na’oura
    91. Espace Zmorda
    92. Association des amis des lettres, des arts et des

  • Member organisations - Tunisia
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