1. ADLI’S OVERVIEW
The formation of the ADLI takes place in the framework of freedoms, particularly the freedom of association, which has been in effect since January 14th, 2011. The project was motivated by a desire to highlight individual liberties. These liberties are intimately related to the individual and, in comparison to collective and public liberties, are largely overlooked or even suppressed.
Indeed, the era following the 14th of January was marked by a heightened politicization of social life. This has resulted in a renewed interest in all civil and political liberties and rights, including the formation of associations, political parties, and trade unions. However, this politics has, in some ways, excluded the individual: the whole argument has centered around the rights of different groups (NGOs, political parties and trade unions).
This movement, which puts emphasis on group rights and collective liberties, gained traction during the election season, while the individual, their rights, and freedoms were mostly absent from campaign rhetoric
Recognizing that the individual (their rights and liberties) is at the heart of any democratic process and the driving force behind civic life, a group of individuals (lawyers and non-lawyers) have chosen to create an association to protect individual liberties. The association presented its constitution dossier to the Interior ministry (number 2773) on March 7th, 2011, and three months later, it announced its formation in the Official Journal number 91, which was published on July 30, 2011. (no. 2011T04214APSF1).
1.2. PEOPLE AND STRUCTURES INVOLVED
ADLI, founded by a group of six people (university professors, a lawyer, a judge, and a designer), is accessible to any citizen who shares its aims and values.
Since its establishment, ADLI has established relationships with all national influencers in the field of human rights and freedoms in order to develop collaborative connections and mutual aid agreements (The Tunisian League for Human Rights, the Association of Democratic Women, the Tunisian Association for the fight against AIDS, etc.).
The ADLI is composed of the following structural elements:
- A Governing Board (consisting of six members: the President/Vice President, the General Secretary/Assistant General Secretary, and the Treasurer/Assistant Treasurer). The office meets once a month or whenever it deems it necessary
- An assembly (consisting of all ADLI members who have been affiliated for at least one year) that meets once a year to debate and decide on ADLI's strategic actions and yearly initiatives.
- Permanent personnel, appointed since January 2012, consisted of a program officer and a management secretary.
- An observatory of individual liberties in Tunisia: This observatory is composed of volunteers from various fields (lawyers, sociologists, psychologists, civilians, artists, journalists, students, etc.).
The objective of the observatory is to record examples of infringement on individual liberties, to issue press releases, and to publish the Periodical on the situation of individual liberties every three months.
2. BACKGROUND AND FOUNDATION
The Tunisian revolution gave birth to a new era of greater freedoms and liberties (the formation of over 1,000 groups, more than 120 political parties, around twenty labor unions, approximately twenty new newspapers, new radio and television channels, etc). While these new freedoms have contributed to the strengthening of Tunisia's human rights framework, they have only focused on public and community rights.
On the other hand, the period after the 14th of January witnessed a large wave of lawsuits filed against the former Head of State's relatives and ministers. This wave of trials was accompanied by violations of human rights and individual liberties. Such events gave us insight on the fragility of these liberties.
As a result, we raise the question, "What role do individual liberties play in Tunisian law and society?"
Our primary observations and assumptions (which are yet to be validated) lead us to the following conclusions:
- Textually, the Tunisian law has a variety of approaches in this regard. In fact, it mostly overlooks the notion of individual liberties. However, some are admittedly codified. Personal autonomy, freedom of conscience, religious freedom, the right to housing, the secrecy of communication, the protection of personal data, freedom of movement, and the right to select one's domicile are a few examples (Articles 5, 8, 9 and 10 of the Constitution of 1 June 1959). They are, nevertheless, constrained by a set of legal and practical limitations.
- Legally, all constitutionally guaranteed liberties are safeguarded as long as "public order is preserved." However, a review of the multiple sub-constitutional legal instruments exposes a set of limitations on individual liberties. For example, the Tunisian penal code continues to take a rather repressive stance to individual liberties. It adopts a relatively distant approach toward democratic human rights and liberties. Nonetheless, the penal code is replete with examples of incriminations of personal and private decisions; incriminations that are no longer defensible in a state that claims to be democratic and cognizant of the globalness, universality, complementarity, and interdependence of human rights.
- On a practical level, Tunisian society remains primarily one that does not see the individual as the possessor of intrinsic individual liberties. The individual is still perceived as a member of a group. As a result, collective rather than individual rights and freedoms are better enshrined. This idea may be reinforced by the election of political parties that advocate for collective rights while neglecting or even opposing individual liberties.
- As a result, the risk of the suppression or marginalization of individual liberties looms in Tunisia as it enters a new era of political activity defined by a new constitution. To safeguard the accomplishments of the former constitution and develop the notion of individual liberties in a democratic regime, perspective, awareness-raising, training, and media activity are vital.
3. Presentation of the Project: Strengthening individual freedoms
Individual liberties will probably be strengthened through the following steps:
3.1. KNOWLEDGE OF THE STATE OF THE AFFAIRS:
This knowledge and understanding necessitates the identification of various conceptions and representations of individual liberties in legal documents, rulings, mass media, publications, and so on. This census will provide insight into people's perceptions about individual liberties. One shall identify which liberties are sanctified, disregarded, or marginalized thanks to such research, resulting in a better understanding of Tunisia's legal environment in reference to international principles in the field of human rights in general and individual freedoms in particular. ADLI will present, disseminate, and publish such studies, as well as share them on its website and Facebook page.
3.2. An information and awareness campaign
Awareness and information campaigns will definitely be carried out via ADLI's website, public presentations, and media coverage of research and publications done by/for ADLI. The same is applicable for news releases issued by ADLI or its observatories. ADLI will create and develop training programs (in the form of workshops) not just for lawyers, but also for educators, students, security officials, and others.
ADLI will lobby constituents as part of the preparations of the new constitution. Indeed, ADLI's activity, including its findings, reports, and surveys, will serve as a database for exerting some pressure on the constituency. This pressure will be exerted through a collaborative and cohesive effort with various partners in the realm of human rights and freedoms. It is also necessary to mention that members of the constituency will be invited to participate in ADLI's varied activities.
3.3. THE AID AND FOLLOW-UP LISTENING UNIT
This cell will look into violations of individual liberties. It will provide critical help to persons whose individual freedoms are jeopardized (or are expected to be affected). This support will likely be of the socio-psychological or legal variety.