24 July 2018

Tunisia: Pact for Equality, Individual Freedom

press release

Tunis — 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," said Yosra Frawes, president of the Tunisian Association of Women Democrats. "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."

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," said 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," said 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," said 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," said Jinan Limam, president of the Tunisian Association for Individual Freedoms.

The Signatory associations and organizations:

Tunisian Coalition Against Death Penalty

Tunisian Association of Democratic Women

Tunisian Association for the Defense of Individual Liberties

Tunisian Association for the Defense of University Values

Tunisian Association for the Defense of Child's Rights

Tunisian Association for the Fight against Sexually Transmitted Diseases and AIDS, Tunis

Tunisian League for the Defense of Human Rights

Tunisian Forum of Economic and Social Rights

National Union of Tunisian Journalists

Al Bawsala Association

Street Art Association

Tunisian Women's Association for Development Research

Beity Association

Tahadi Association

Shams Association

Together Association

Dissonances Association

Vigilance Association for Democracy and Civil State

Damj - Tunisian Association for Justice and Equality

League of Tunisian Female Voters

Mawjoudin Initiative for Equality

Democratic Transition and Human Rights Support Center

Africa Women's Forum

EUROMED Rights

International Federation for Human Rights

"Let's be active" Programme

Heinrich Böll Foundation

OXFAM

Lawyers without borders

Human Rights Watch

Legal Agenda

Women and Citizenship Association - El Kef

Tunisia land of humans Association

Tunisian Federation for Citizenship of both Shores

Association of development and bordering of youth and childhood - Jendouba

Soumoud Civil Collective

Sounbola Association

Equality & Parity Association

Hyphenation Association

Tunisian Association for Minority Support

Joussour Association for Citizenship - El Kef

Association of school creativity

Citizenship and Liberties Association

Mouwatinet Association

Association for the promotion of the Right to Difference

Citizens in Solidarity Association

Observatory for the defense of the right to difference

Tawhida Ben Cheikh Group for Research & Action in Women's Health

Tunisia Culture and Solidarity Association - Paris

World Organization Against Torture

Byالحوم Association

Tunis Center for Press Freedom

Tunisian Association for Electoral Integrity and Democracy

Coalition for Women of Tunisia

Enda Inter-Arab

Tunisian Association of Positive Prevention

Tunisian Association of Reproductive Health

Free Sight Association

Manifesto of Culture Association

Chouf Minorities

Al-Sajine 52 Initiative

Amnesty International - Tunisia Section

Al Kahina Association for Culture and Development

CALAM Association

Psychologues du Monde Organization

Path of Dignity Association

Tigar Association for Joint Citizenship

Rural Women Association - Jendouba

Horra Organization

Waai Association

Unies-vers-elles Association

Magida Boulila Association for Modernity - Sfax

Aswat Nissa Association

Fanni Raghman Anni Association

International Council of Women Entrepreneurs

Tunisian Council of Secularism

Jamaity Association

Lam Echaml Association

Manifesto for Development and Citizenship Association - Beja

M'nemty Association

Tunisian Organization for Social Justice and Solidarity

Doustouna Network

Y-Peer Tunisia

Woman and Leadership Association

Rural Women Association

Frida Association

Education and Family Organization

Association for the Development of Education and Family

Nima Association for Development and Democracy

People's Voice Association

Al-Naoura Association

Zmorda Space

Friends of Literature, Arts and Sciences Association

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Tunisian Coalition Against Death Penalty

Tunisian Association of Democratic Women

Tunisian Association for the Defense of Individual Liberties

Tunisian Association for the Defense of University Values

Tunisian Association for the Defense of Child's Rights

Tunisian Association for the Fight against Sexually Transmitted Diseases and AIDS, Tunis

Tunisian League for the Defense of Human Rights

Tunisian Forum of Economic and Social Rights

National Union of Tunisian Journalists

Al Bawsala Association

Street Art Association

Tunisian Women's Association for Development Research

Beity Association

Tahadi Association

Shams Association

Together Association

Dissonances Association

Vigilance Association for Democracy and Civil State

Damj - Tunisian Association for Justice and Equality

League of Tunisian Female Voters

Mawjoudin Initiative for Equality

Democratic Transition and Human Rights Support Center

Africa Women's Forum

EUROMED Rights

International Federation for Human Rights

"Let's be active" Programme

Heinrich Böll Foundation

OXFAM

Lawyers without borders

Human Rights Watch

Legal Agenda

Women and Citizenship Association - El Kef

Tunisia land of humans Association

Tunisian Federation for Citizenship of both Shores

Association of development and bordering of youth and childhood - Jendouba

Soumoud Civil Collective

Sounbola Association

Equality & Parity Association

Hyphenation Association

Tunisian Association for Minority Support

Joussour Association for Citizenship - El Kef

Association of school creativity

Citizenship and Liberties Association

Mouwatinet Association

Association for the promotion of the Right to Difference

Citizens in Solidarity Association

Observatory for the defense of the right to difference

Tawhida Ben Cheikh Group for Research & Action in Women's Health

Tunisia Culture and Solidarity Association - Paris

World Organization Against Torture

Byالحوم Association

Tunis Center for Press Freedom

Tunisian Association for Electoral Integrity and Democracy

Coalition for Women of Tunisia

Enda Inter-Arab

Tunisian Association of Positive Prevention

Tunisian Association of Reproductive Health

Free Sight Association

Manifesto of Culture Association

Chouf Minorities

Al-Sajine 52 Initiative

Amnesty International - Tunisia Section

Al Kahina Association for Culture and Development

CALAM Association

Psychologues du Monde Organization

Path of Dignity Association

Tigar Association for Joint Citizenship

Rural Women Association - Jendouba

Horra Organization

Waai Association

Unies-vers-elles Association

Magida Boulila Association for Modernity - Sfax

Aswat Nissa Association

Fanni Raghman Anni Association

International Council of Women Entrepreneurs

Tunisian Council of Secularism

Jamaity Association

Lam Echaml Association

Manifesto for Development and Citizenship Association - Beja

M'nemty Association

Tunisian Organization for Social Justice and Solidarity

Doustouna Network

Y-Peer Tunisia

Woman and Leadership Association

Rural Women Association

Frida Association

Education and Family Organization

Association for the Development of Education and Family

Nima Association for Development and Democracy

People's Voice Association

Al-Naoura Association

Zmorda Space

Friends of Literature, Arts and Sciences Association

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