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Tunisia: Pact for Equality, Individual Freedom

Tunisia: Pact for Equality, Individual Freedom

More Than 90 Groups Among the Signatories


(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,” 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.  

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

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



Wednesday, July 25, 2018