The Human Truth Foundation

Human Rights and Freedom in Tunisia

By Vexen Crabtree 2019


Comments:
FB, LJ

#equality #freedom #human_rights #politics #tolerance #tunisia

Tunisia
Tunisian Republic

[Country Profile Page]
StatusIndependent State
CapitalTunis
Land Area 155 360km21
LocationAfrica, Mediterranean
Population10.7m (2011)2
Life Expectancy74.98yrs (2017)3
GNI$10 249 (2017)4
ISO3166-1 CodesTN, TUN, 7885
Internet Domain.tn6
CurrencyDinar (TND)7
Telephone+2168

Tunisia is generally poor at ensuring human rights and freedom compared to the rest of the world. Tunisia does better than average in eliminating modern slavery9, commentary from Human Rights Watch10, opposing gender inequality11, its nominal commitment to Human Rights12, its Global Peace Index rating13 and in fighting corruption14. Since finally removing the authoritarian Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali, Tunisia has made some progress in supporting women's rights and improving detainee procedures15. From 2016, the Truth and Dignity Commission began hearing and airing complaints against human rights abuses15, helping to foster new era of dignity and responsibility towards fellow humans, although it has so far avoided the most serious kinds of complaints (for example, torture and high-level corruption). The 2014 constitution upholds many "key civil, political, social, economic, and cultural rights"15. Tunisia does not succeed in everything, however. It does worse than average in supporting personal, civil & economic freedoms16 and in supporting press freedom17. And finally, it falls into the bottom 20 in fighting anti-semitic opinions18 and in LGBT equality19. Some recent changes are worrying; granting amnesty for state officials previously accused of corruption15 can only ever cause further corruption in the future, leading to degradation of national life. The needless discriminatory law that criminalizes sodomy continues to result in prison spaces being filled by people who have done nothing other than conduct private and consensual sexual relations15.


1. Politics and Freedom

#antisemitism #burundi #corruption #eritrea #france #freedom #human_development #human_rights #indonesia #mass_media #peace #politics #slavery #Tunisia

Seven years after ousting its authoritarian president, Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali, Tunisia is still facing numerous challenges in consolidating human rights protection. [...]

On November 17 and 18, 2016, the Truth and Dignity Commission held the first public hearings of victims of human rights violations, which were aired live on national TV and radio stations. Since then, the commission has held 11 more hearings covering various human rights violations during the Ben Ali and Bourguiba presidencies, such as torture, abuses against union rights, sexual assault against women imprisoned for political reasons, and violations of economic rights.

"World Report 2018" by Human Rights Watch (2018)15

Anti-Semite Opinions (2014)18
Pos.Lower is better
%18
1Laos0
2Philippines3
3Sweden4
...
94Jordan81
95Bahrain81
96Kuwait82
97Tunisia86
98Algeria87
99Libya87
100Yemen88
101Iraq92
World Avg36.8
q=101.
Corruption (2012-2016)14
Pos.Higher is better
Avg Score14
1Denmark90.8
2New Zealand90.6
3Finland89.4
...
76Bulgaria41.4
77Brazil41.2
78Serbia40.8
79Tunisia40.2
80Bosnia & Herzegovina40.0
81Jamaica38.8
82Burkina Faso38.8
83China38.4
World Avg43.05
q=176.
Global Peace Index (2012)13
Pos.Lower is better13
1Iceland1.11
2New Zealand1.24
3Denmark1.24
...
69Guyana1.94
70Cuba1.95
71Ukraine1.95
72Tunisia1.96
73Cyprus1.96
74Gambia1.96
75Gabon1.97
76Paraguay1.97
World Avg2.02
q=157.

Human Rights Watch Comments (2017)10
Pos.Higher is better
Score10
1UK9
2France9
3Germany9
...
51Argentina-2
52Georgia-2
53Turkey-2
54Tunisia-2
55Mexico-2
56Sri Lanka-2
57S. Africa-2
58Singapore-2
World Avg-1.9
q=123.
Nominal Commitment to HR (2009)12
Pos.Higher is better
Treaties12
1Argentina24
2Chile23
3Costa Rica23
...
69Philippines18
70Algeria18
71Malta18
72Tunisia18
73Niger18
74El Salvador18
75Mongolia17
76Timor-Leste (E. Timor)17
World Avg15.1
q=194.
Personal, Civil & Economic Freedom (2014)16
Pos.Lower is better
Rank16
1Hong Kong1
2Switzerland2
3New Zealand3
...
120Oman120
121Timor-Leste (E. Timor)120
122Burundi122
123Tunisia123
124Mali124
125Gambia125
126Cameroon126
127Guyana126
World Avg79.7
q=159.

Press Freedom (2013)17
Pos.Lower is better17
1Finland638
2Netherlands648
3Norway652
...
134Thailand3860
135Morocco3904
136Ethiopia3957
137Tunisia3993
138Indonesia4105
139India4122
140Oman4151
141Congo, DR4166
World Avg3249
q=178.

In 2011, the transitional authorities liberalized the press code and law pertaining to the broadcast media, eliminating most of the criminal penalties these laws impose on speech offenses. However, authorities continued to resort to the penal code and the Code of Military Justice, to prosecute people for speech offenses. [...]

[Amongst several similar cases] trials of two prominent bloggers, Mariem Mnaouer and Lina BenMhenni, continued in 2017. The first was prosecuted in 2012 for insulting a state official, and the second in 2014 under the same charge, shortly after each had filed complaints against police officers for using violence against them.

"World Report 2018" by Human Rights Watch (2018)15

Slavery (2018)9
Pos.Lower is better
% Victims9
1Japan0.03
2Canada0.05
3Taiwan0.05
...
38Panama0.21
39Sri Lanka0.21
40UK0.21
41Tunisia0.22
42Slovenia0.22
43Suriname0.23
44Spain0.23
45Ecuador0.24
World Avg0.65
q=167.

The taking of slaves has been an unwholesome feature of Human cultures since prehistory20. Private households and national endeavours have frequently been augmented with the use of slaves. The Egyptian and Roman empires both thrived on them for both purposes. Aside from labourers they are often abused sexually by their owners and their owners' friends21. The era of colonialism and the beginnings of globalisation changed nothing: the imprisonment and forced movements of labour continued to destroy many lives except that new justifications were invented based on Christian doctrine and the effort to convert non-Christians. By 1786 over 12 million slaves had been extracted from Africa and sent to colonial labour camps, with a truly atrocious condition of life22. But they were not the only ones to blame; in Africa internal nations such as the Asantes sold and bought tens of thousands of slaves23.

The abolition of the slave trade was a long and slow process. Until a relatively modern time, even philosophers, religious leaders and those concerned with ethics justified, or ignored, the problem of slavery24. The first abolitionists were always the slaves themselves. Their protests and rebellions caused the industry to become too expensive to continue. After that, it was the economic costs of maintain slave colonies that led the British to reject and then oppose the slave trade globally. Finally, the enlightenment-era thinkers of France encouraged moral and ethical thinking including the declaration of the inherent value of human life and human dignity25. A long-overdue wave of compassionate and conscientious movements swept across the West, eliminating public support for slavery, until the industries and churches that supported it had no choice but to back down.

'Modern slavery' includes forced labour (often of the under-age), debt bondage (especially generational), sexual slavery, chattel slavery and other forms of abuse, some of which can be surprisingly difficult to detect, but often target those fleeing from warzones and the vulnerable.26. Some industries (diamond, clothing, coal) from some countries (Burundi9, Eritrea9, Indonesia27) are a particular concern. The Walk Free Foundation, say that in 2016, 40.3 million people were living in modern slavery28.

2. Gender Equality

#gender #misogyny #politics #Tunisia #women

Gender Inequality (2015)11
Pos.Lower is better11
1Switzerland0.04
2Denmark0.04
3Netherlands0.04
...
55Uruguay0.28
56Ukraine0.28
57Uzbekistan0.29
58Tunisia0.29
59Malaysia0.29
60Barbados0.29
61Armenia0.29
62Cuba0.30
World Avg0.36
q=159.

Gender inequality is not a necessary part of early human development. Although a separation of roles is almost universal due to different strengths between the genders, this does not have to mean that women are subdued, and, such patriarchialism is not universal in ancient history. Those cultures and peoples who shed, or never developed, the idea that mankind ought to dominate womankind, are better cultures and peoples than those who, even today, cling violently to those mores.

Year Women Can Vote29
Pos.Lower is better
Year29
1New Zealand1893
2Australia1902
3Finland1906
...
120Burkina Faso1958
121Guinea1958
122Madagascar1959
123Tunisia1959
124Tanzania1959
125Tonga1960
126Cyprus1960
127Gambia1960
World Avg1930
q=189.

The 1950s saw a late rush of 43 countries, including Tunisia and many developing nations, move to cease preventing women from voting. Tunisia is on the way towards ending gender inequality but women are still in an unfavourable position much of the time.

Tunisia continued to make progress towards the consolidation of women´s rights. [In 2017] parliament adopted a comprehensive law on fighting violence against women, which includes key elements that are essential to prevent violence against women, protect domestic violence survivors, and prosecute abusers.

"World Report 2018" by Human Rights Watch (2018)15

Some laws that enshrined gender inequality have been finally removed, many of them based on common Islamic law-making, such as the provision that a man can avoid rape charges by marrying his victim, and, has removed restrictions that prevented women from marrying non-Muslim men15. There are still too many other areas of formal inequality.

See:

3. LGBT Equality and Tolerance

#equality #homosexuality #human_rights #intolerance #sexuality #tolerance #Tunisia

LGBT Equality (2017)19
Pos.Higher is better
Score19
1Netherlands103
2Belgium90
3Sweden86
...
182UAE-34
183Kuwait-37
184Algeria-37
185Tunisia-39
186Guinea-39
187Cameroon-39
188Senegal-39
189Libya-42
World Avg12.6
q=196.

Discrimination against Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) folk is rife across the world. Legal restrictions co-exist alongside social stigmatisation and physical violence30. LGBT tolerance and equal rights have been fought for country-by-country across the world, often against tightly entrenched cultural and religious opposition. Adult consensual sexual activity is a Human Right, protected by privacy laws31. Despite this, homosexual activity is outlawed in around 80 countries30. The Social & Moral LGBT Equality Index was created to compare countries and regions, granting points to each country for a variety of factors including how long gay sex has been criminalized and the extent of LGBT legal rights. Graded negative points are given for criminality of homosexuality, unequal ages of consent, legal punishments and for not signing international accords on LGBT tolerance. The signs in many developed countries are positive, and things are gradually improving. Europe is by far the least prejudiced region (Scandinavia in particular being exemplary). The Middle East and then Africa are the least morally developed, where cultural bias goes hand-in-hand with state intolerance, all too often including physical violence.

Article 230 of the penal code punishes consensual same-sex conduct with up to three years in prison. Anal testing is used as the main form of evidence in order to convict men of sodomy. Shams, a Tunisian LGBTI association, said that at least 10 men were prosecuted under article 230 in various parts of Tunisia in 2017, and two were sentenced to two years in prison.

"World Report 2018" by Human Rights Watch (2018)15

Tunisia "a accepted a recommendation from Ireland to immediately cease the practice of forced anal examinations" and its own National Council of the Medical Order also spoke out against it as "a practice which is contrary to human dignity"15.

4. Tunisia Overall National and Social Development

#human_development #Tunisia

Social & Moral
Development Index
32
Pos.Higher is better
Points32
1Denmark84.0
2Sweden83.9
3Finland83.5
...
100Azerbaijan51.2
101Belarus51.2
102Russia51.1
103Tunisia51.0
104St Lucia51.0
105St Vincent & Grenadines50.9
106China50.5
107India50.5
108Cape Verde50.4
World Avg53.8
q=198.

The Social and Moral Development Index concentrates on moral issues and human rights, violence, public health, equality, tolerance, freedom and effectiveness in climate change mitigation and environmentalism, and on some technological issues. A country scores higher for achieving well in those areas, and for sustaining that achievement in the long term. Those countries towards the top of this index can truly said to be setting good examples and leading humankind onwards into a bright, humane, and free future. See: What is the Best Country in the World? An Index of Morality, Conscience and Good Life.

5. Freedom of Belief and Religion

#atheism #islam #tunisia

The International Humanist and Ethical Union produced a report in 2012 entitled "Freedom of Thought" (2012)33, in which they document bias and prejudice at the national level that is based on religion, belief and/or lack of belief. Their entry for Tunisia states:

The constitution and other laws and policies largely provide for freedom of religion or belief but, in practice, the government enforces some restrictions on this freedom.

Since the Arab Spring revolution, there has been a democratic process to create a new constitution that will better protect international human rights standards. Unfortunately, political Islamists are meeting little opposition in their efforts to insert a clause against blasphemy in the new constitution. Article 3 in the draft constitution says: "The state guarantees freedom of religious belief and practice and criminalises all attacks on that which is sacred." In August 2012, the ruling party, the Islamist party Ennahdha , filed an anti-blasphemy bill which criminalises "curses, insults mockery, and desecration" of Allah, the Prophets, the three Abrahamic books, the Sunnah (the practices of the Prophet Muhammad), churches, synagogues and the Kaaba (the most sacred building in Islam). The bill also forbids pictorial representation of God and Prophet Muhammad. When Sofiene Chourabi, a democracy activist and journalist called for a protest against the blasphemy law he was arrested the next day for "drinking alcohol during Ramadan", which is not a crime under Tunisian law.

Even before the blasphemy ban has become law, there has been an increase in prosecutions and censorship of allegedly blasphemous speech. The legal and political situation remains fluid and unpredictable.

Cases of Discrimination

On 28 March, 2012, two atheist friends, Jabeur Mejri and Ghazi Beji were sentenced to seven and a half years in prison, and to a fine of 1200 Tunisian Dinars (around US $800) each, for posting images on Facebook deemed blasphemous. Mejri,and Beji were put on trial following a complaint lodged by a group of residents in Mahdia. While Jabeur Mejri is in prison, his friend Ghazi Beji sought refuge in Europe. Mejri, and Beji were convicted under Article 121 (3) of the Tunisian Penal Code, which states that: "The distribution, putting up for sale, public display, or possession, with the intent to distribute, sell, display for the purpose of propaganda, tracts, bulletins, and fliers, whether of foreign origin or not, that are liable to cause harm to the public order or public morals is prohibited."

On May 3, 2012, Nabil Karoui was convicted for disrupting public order and violating moral values by airing Persepolis an animated film that some religious leaders say insults Islam. Karoui, the head of Nessma TV a private tv station, was ordered to pay a 2,400 dinar (US$1,500) fine.

"Freedom of Thought" by IHEU (2012)33

Current edition: 2019 Jan 01
http://www.humantruth.info/tunisia_human_rights_and_freedom.html
Parent page: Tunisia (Tunisian Republic)

All #tags used on this page - click for more:

#antisemitism #atheism #burundi #corruption #equality #eritrea #france #freedom #gender #homosexuality #human_development #human_rights #indonesia #intolerance #islam #mass_media #misogyny #peace #politics #sexuality #slavery #tolerance #tunisia #women

Social Media

References: (What's this?)

Book Cover

Anti-Defamation League. (ADL)
(2014) ADL Global 100, Executive Summary. Accessed on global100.adl.org on 2017 Jan 02. The numbers given are of those who state that racist stereotyped statements about Jews are true; they have to agree to 6 or more of the 11 statements to be counted. An example statements is "Jews are hated because of the way they behave". The data was collected from 53,100 interviews across 101 countries plus the West Bank and Gaza. The global average is 26%.

Casely-Hayford, Gus
(2012) The Lost Kingdoms of Africa. Published by Bantram Press. A hardback book.

Crabtree, Vexen
(2019) "What is the Best Country in the World? An Index of Morality, Conscience and Good Life" (2019). Accessed 2019 Jan 13.

Donnelly, Jack
(2013) Universal Human Rights in Theory and Practice. 3rd edition. Published by Cornell University Press.

The Fraser Institute
(2016) The Human Freedom Index. Published by The Cato Institute, The Fraser Institute and the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom. Covers data up to 2014. On www.fraserinstitute.org/.../human-freedom-index-2016.

Human Rights Watch
(2018) World Report 2018. Covering the events of 2017.

IHEU. International Humanist and Ethical Union.
(2012) Freedom of Thought. A copy can be found on iheu.org/...Freedom of Thought 2012.pdf, accessed 2013 Oct 28.

Klein, Naomi
(2004) No Logo. Originally published 2000, HarperCollins, London, UK. A paperback book.

McCall, Andrew
(1979) The Medieval Underworld. 2004 edition. Published by Sutton Publishing. A paperback book.

Thomson, Oliver
(1993) A History of Sin. Published by Canongate Press. A hardback book.

United Nations
(2011) Human Development Report. Published by the UN Development Programme. This edition had the theme of Sustainability and Equity: A Better Future for All. Available on hdr.undp.org/... UN Development Program: About the Human Development Index.
(2017) Human Development Report. Published by the UN Development Programme. Data for 2015. Available on hdr.undp.org/.

Walk Free Foundation
(2018) Global Slavery Index. Published on www.walkfreefoundation.org/.

Footnotes

  1. World Bank data on data.worldbank.org accessed 2013 Nov 04.^
  2. UN (2011) .^
  3. UN (2017). Table 1.^
  4. UN (2017). Gross National Income, per person. Table 1.^
  5. International Standards Organisation (ISO) standard ISO3166-1, on www.iso.org, accessed 2013 May 01.^
  6. Top level domains (TLDs) are managed by the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) on www.iana.org.^
  7. According to ISO4217.^
  8. According to ITU-T.^
  9. Walk Free Foundation (2018) .^^
  10. Human Rights Watch (2018). Negative and positive comments have been added to create a score for each country covered in the report.^^
  11. UN (2017). Table 5. Lower is better.^^
  12. Max possible=24. Total amount of treaties ratified. Nominal Commitment to Human Rights report published by UCL School of Public Policy, London, UK, at ucl.ac.uk/spp/research/research-projects/nchr accessed 2011 Apr 30.^^
  13. ^^
  14. Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index (2017). Accessed 2017 Dec 30. The scores given are the TI average for the years 2012-2016.^^
  15. Human Rights Watch (2018). p554-559.^^^^
  16. Fraser Institute, the (2016). Covers data for 2014.^^
  17. Reporters Without Borders Report "2013 World Press Freedom Index: Dashed hopes after spring" at fr.rsf.org/.../classement_2013_gb-bd.pdf accessed 2013 Feb.^^
  18. ADL (2014). Lower is better.^^
  19. Sources:^^
  20. Thomson (1993). p28.^
  21. McCall (1979). p180.^
  22. Thomson (1993). p166.^
  23. Casely-Hayford (2012). p253.^
  24. Thomson (1993). p31.^
  25. Thomson (1993). p199.^
  26. Thomson (1993). p28-29.^
  27. Klein (2004) .^
  28. Walk Free Foundation (2018). p2.^
  29. "What is the Best Country in the World? An Index of Morality, Conscience and Good Life: 2.9. Women Stand for Election & Vote" by Vexen Crabtree (2019)^
  30. Donnelly (2013). Chapter 16 "Nondiscrimination for All: The Case of Sexual Minorities" p278.^
  31. Donnelly (2013). Chapter 16 "Nondiscrimination for All: The Case of Sexual Minorities" p289. According to a 1992 ruling of the Human Rights Committee, which declared that 'it is undisputed that adult consensual sexual activity in private is covered by the concept of privacy' when discussing Article 17 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. See Human Rights Committee, Communication 488/1992, paragraph 8.2.^
  32. "What is the Best Country in the World? An Index of Morality, Conscience and Good Life" by Vexen Crabtree (2019)^
  33. IHEU (2012) .^

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