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Stop the CEDAW smear campaign

April 29, 2013

The Tunisian Association for the Defense of Individual Freedoms (ADLI)


Stop the CEDAW smear campaign

Faced with the campaign to denigrate Tunisia's lifting of reservations to the United Nations Convention against All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) issued upon ratification of the convention by Tunisia in 1985;

A denigration that was able to reach its most flagrant and most dangerous manifestation by inventing provisions that do not appear in CEDAW, such as the comments published by the Journal "EL Fejer" of Friday April 26, 2013, page 6 by calling l 'Box' Summary of Articles 15 and 16 of CEDAW ', where we read (we quote the journal):

 « Articles 15 and 16 of the convention recognize: To the girl all sexual freedoms and her right to choose her sex and the sex of his / her campaign; Providing adolescent girls with contraception (al mourahiqat) and training them to use them; The right of a woman to lodge a complaint against her husband for rape or harassment; The wife's obligation to contribute to the financial costs of their family in the same way as the husband, under penalty of criminal sanction ... ».

These erroneous and manipulative comments have nothing to do with the actual content of Articles 15 and 16 of CEDAW, which we invite you and the person who wrote the comments of the Journal "EL Fejer" to read carefully before proceeding to their publication.

Indeed, section 15 of CEDAW provides:

« 1. States Parties recognize that women are equal with men before the law.

2. States Parties shall recognize for women, in civil matters, the same legal capacity as that of men and the same possibilities for exercising this capacity. In particular, they grant him equal rights with regard to the conclusion of contracts and the administration of property and accord them the same treatment at all stages of the judicial process.

3. The States Parties agree that all contracts and all other private instruments of any kind having a legal effect aimed at limiting the legal capacity of women shall be considered null and void.

4. States Parties recognize the same rights of men and women with regard to the legislation relating to the right of persons to move freely and to choose their residence and domicile.».

And Article 16 provides:

« 1. States Parties shall take all appropriate measures to eliminate discrimination against women in all matters arising from marriage and in family relations and, in particular, ensure, on the basis of equality between men and the woman:

·         a) The same right to contract marriage

·         (b) The same right to freely choose a spouse and to enter into marriage only with their free and full consent;

·         c) The same rights and responsibilities during marriage and upon its dissolution;

·         (d) The same rights and responsibilities as parents, regardless of their marital status, in matters relating to their children; in all cases, the best interests of the children are the primary consideration;

·         e) The same rights to decide freely and in full knowledge of the facts about the number and spacing of births and to have access to information, education and the means necessary to enable them to exercise these rights;

·         (f) The same rights and responsibilities in matters of guardianship, wardship, custody and adoption of children, or similar institutions, where these concepts exist in national law; in all cases, the best interests of the children are the primary consideration;

·         (g) The same personal rights for husband and wife, including with regard to the choice of surname, profession and occupation;

·         h) The same rights for each of the spouses in matters of ownership, acquisition, management, administration, enjoyment and disposal of property, both free of charge and for consideration.

2. Engagements and child marriages have no legal effects and all necessary measures, including legislative provisions, are taken to set a minimum age for marriage and to make the registration of marriage compulsory. on an official register ».

That said, ADLI denounces this campaign to denigrate CEDAW and which aims to manipulate public opinion which is not supposed to read international conventions by presenting it with false and bad faith summaries; and in the face of these very dangerous facts, ADLI recalls:

1. Tunisia's reservations to the provisions of articles “9 § 2”; "16 § c, d, f, g, h"; “29 § 1”, as well as the declaration concerning “§4 of article 15” of the United Nations convention against all forms of discrimination against women - issued when it was ratified in July 1985. was withdrawn by Decree-Law No. 103 of October 24, 2011, which was published in the Official Journal of the Republic of Tunisia at No. 82 of October 28, 2011, p. 246-247;

2. CEDAW does not need to be approved or endorsed by the ANC. CEDAW has already entered into force due to its publication in the Official Journal of the Republic of Tunisia. It thus has all the legal effects attached to the enforceable and enforceable legal act which citizens could avail themselves of before the administration and the courts.

3. CEDAW does not contradict itself with the draft of the new constitution. Indeed, article 6 enshrines the equality of all citizens in rights and obligations, and they are all equal before the law without discrimination. As for article 11, it considers women and men as partners in building society and the state. For article 42, it makes it incumbent on the state to protect the rights of women and consolidate their achievements ...

Considering all these considerations, the ADLI calls:

1. To stop this campaign of denigration of CEDAW and calls on free journalists to publish the text of CEDAW and to organize debates and meetings relating to its content and its impact on the rights and obligations of women, of course, but of the society too;

2. Calls on the components of civil and political society who believe in a perfect and effective equality of women and men to take this smear campaign seriously and to put in place collective and effective actions to combat this campaign;

3. Calls on the President of the Republic to proceed and without delay to notify the withdrawal of reservations to the depositary of CEDAW, namely the Secretary General of the United Nations.

Long live the perfect and effective equality of women and men

For the ADLI office 

President Wahid Ferchichi   

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