Tunisia’s president has accused civil society of fomenting the country’s colonization by undocumented migrants from sub-Saharan Africa. Kais Saied denounces those who wish to « change the demographic composition » of Tunisia, evoking their « violence and criminality ». His proof? Contacted by Nawaat, the Interior Ministry affirmed that it does not have statistics regarding the number of migrants implicated in criminal activities. A glimpse at the facts exposes the president’s xenophobic fiction for what it is.
Women’s rights in Tunisia: CEDAW decimated
As the CEDAW Committee prepares to examine the situation for women’s rights in Tunisia, feminists fear the Convention’s demise. In 2011, Tunisia withdrew its reserves regarding the CEDAW. A political decision that was not followed by legislative reform.
Television in Tunisia: These women, enemies of women
Their names are Baya Zardi, Hanène Elleuch, Najla Ettounssia, Rania Toumi… What they share in common: a certain representation of beauty and knack for creating a buzz. And indeed, they devote themselves body and soul to this end—even when it sets them against other women.
Feminist outcry against Tunisia’s electoral law
The new electoral law unilaterally decreed by president Kais Saied spurred outcry among women’s rights advocates in Tunisia. In protest of the new legislation, a feminist movement formed of nine associations staged a sit-in before the Independent High Authority for Elections (ISIE). As these activists voice demands for absolute parity between men and women in the public sphere, the president’s backwards approach to equality threatens to reverse women’s political gains.
Sub-Saharan migrants in Tunisia: Marginalization of a replacement workforce
Some 57 thousand sub-Saharan migrants are currently living in Tunisia, according to the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA). To make ends meet, many of them take on precarious, underpaid jobs as builders, servers and agricultural workers. This demographic of foreign workers has replaced a Tunisian workforce that has shown itself reluctant to such economic activities. In the meantime, Tunisian legislation has failed to address what is becoming a dire socio-economic dilemma, as the absence of clear policy leaves free rein to all sorts of abuses against migrant workers.
Sea in danger, contaminated by human and industrial waste
Stretching across a distance of 1,300 kilometers, the Tunisian coastline is one of the country’s most treasured riches. And pollution threatens to destroy it. Every year, the Ministry of Health publishes a list of beaches where swimming is prohibited. The most obvious culprit is the National Sanitation Utility (ONAS). Water analyses indicate the presence of significant levels of fecal matter in the sea. But the government’s laissez-faire policies offer no incentive for industrial facilities to limit the pollutants they release into the environment.
Tunisia’s refugee crisis: Unsafe transit country, unreliable UNHCR
For weeks, refugees and asylum seekers demonstrated outside UNHCR headquarters in Tunis. Young men, women and children camped out in make-shift tents, giving voice to their anger and demanding dignity. And to be evacuated out of Tunisia. A crisis that reveals but the tip of the iceberg in the management of migrants, refugees and asylum seekers who disembark onto Tunisia’s shores.
Access to health care: It’s sink or swim for migrants in Tunisia
Tunisia is home to an ever-growing migrant population. And yet many migrants remain in an irregular situation. In the absence of a complete legal framework for refugees and asylum seekers, access to health services for this heterogeneous community is not only inadequate, but in some cases even non-existent. For certain migrants, their inability to seek proper treatment is a disadvantage with potentially fatal consequences.
Women’s prisons in Tunisia: punishment without rehabilitation
3.2% of Tunisia’s incarcerated population are women. Asma is one of them. In an interview with Nawaat, Asma opens up about the appalling conditions inside women’s prisons. For many inmates, violence, whether socio-economic or psychological, is a fact of their past and present. A study by Beity and Lawyers Without Borders sheds light on their experience in prison and beyond.
Tunisia’s secondhand clothes market, barometer of citizen purchasing power
The Tunisian market for secondhand clothing, known as « fripe », emerged after the second world war. The industry has since become ingrained in the country’s socioeconomic fabric, anchored in consumer habits and constituting a livelihood for more than 200 thousand individuals. But the sector is facing an unprecedented crisis.
Belaid and Brahmi Assassinations: autopsy of an ill-stricken justice system
Revelations made in early February by the Chokri Belaid and Mohamed Brahmi Defense Committee were nothing short of explosive. Certain magistrates, including the president of the High Judicial Council, have been accused of covering up the truth and collusion with Ennahdha.
Freedom to form associations: The Bouden government’s restrictive draft law
It was with sealed lips that the Bouden government elaborated a draft law concerning the organization of associations. Recently leaked to several NGOs, the proposed legislation contains provisions which hint at why authorities might prefer to remain tight-lipped about the measure in question.
National Consultation: «In the name of the people»… exclusion!
Launched on January 15, President Kais Saied’s national consultation has been presented as a democratic means to sound out the Tunisian people. That this mechanism remains unevenly accessible to citizens appears not to have shaken the president’s will to see his project through to the end.
Kais Saied and the Judiciary: A Clash of Powers?
Judiciary officials are under fire from President Kais Saied. Saied does not mince his words when it comes to the country’s magistrates, reproaching them for complicity with all kinds of corrupt individuals. Accused of promoting impunity, magistrates have defended themselves by pointing to political interference in their domain. It’s open war on a battlefield where needed reforms have been blocked.
Radwan Masmoudi: Soft Power Arm of Tunisia’s Islamists
Since the president’s sweeping decisions announced on July 25, Ennahdha member Radwan Masmoudi has waged a media war against Kais Saied. A controversial figure, Masmoudi has long juggled between his activities in civil society and in politics. And this is not the first time that his statements have elicited so much controversy and raised questions about his connections both within and outside of Tunisia.
Amending Law 52 on narcotics: A Mixed Track Record
When three young people were recently sentenced to 30 years in prison in accordance with Law 52 on narcotics, it sparked controversy. A debate has reignited over the repressive nature of the law and the fate of drug consumers locked up for smoking a joint. Meanwhile, collectives and associations have come out calling for the depenalization and decriminalization of drug consumption. Their demand is not a new one, but it remains hostage to political procrastination. In 2017, the law was amended to be less restrictive, but has its application followed suit? What changes have taken place since 2017?
Right to Asylum in Tunisia: Guaranteed by the Constitution, but not Other Laws
The number of asylum seekers in Tunisia is on the rise. In the absence of a legal framework that guarantees their basic rights, these individuals remain vulnerable, dependent on the good will of civil society organizations and the potential kindness of Tunisians. Yet article 26 of the Constitution guarantees the right to political asylum.
Tunisia : Women Campaigning Against the Impunity of Cyberviolence
Harassment, revenge porn, blackmail: 80 percent of women in Tunisia have experienced violence on the internet. This violence is multifaceted and rampant on social media. In an effort to stop it, some have decided to publicly denounce their aggressors on Facebook through the Ena Zeda groups. But is this enough to stem the violence?
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