Rights 227

Protests in Tunisia: Queer Activists on the Front Lines

On March 4, queer activist Rania Amdouni was sentenced to six months in prison after weeks of harassment by the police. « Queer and intersex individuals will defend Tunisians’ social and economic demands, even if the State does not consider them human because of their differences », Damino said. « Our presence in the protests is the result of a process that began in 2011 », Firas added.

Families say Police Abused, Abducted Minors in Mass Sweeps as Protests Continue

After more than a week of protests across the nation following a sudden, government-imposed lockdown on the 10th anniversary of the January 14, 2011 revolution, security forces have arrested over 1600 people, 600 of them children, according to Yassine Azaza, a human rights activist and volunteer lawyer on behalf of the Tunisian League of Human Rights (LTDH by its French acronym). Those numbers were given to Nawaat/Meshkal on January 20, 2021, but since then the numbers have increased and human rights activists and organizations said they are struggling to keep track.

Healthcare Workers Protest Amid Strike

Hundreds of healthcare staff and workers, including doctors, nurses, medical students and other staff held a protest march on Tuesday, December 8, which they dubbed a ‘day of rage’ for the Tunisian public health sector. The focus of protesters demands was on public investment in healthcare facilities, equipment and infrastructure following the death of 27-year-old surgical resident, Badr Eddine Aloui. Aloui fell to his death on December 3 from the fifth floor in the Jendouba Regional Hospital due to an elevator dysfunction.

Precarious Public Sector “Site” Workers Denounce New Union Agreement

On October 20, the government and the Tunisian General Labor Union (UGTT) reached an agreement to resolve the precarious working conditions of so-called “site workers” [ommel hadha’ir] who are hired by the state and work in local administration and agriculture. Yet many ‘site workers’ who had pushed authorities to resolve their status, think the agreement falls short of promises made to them by successive governments. The deal has sparked calls for protest across the country, including a mass mobilization in front of Parliament on Wednesday, December 9, a day that a ‘site worker’ coordination grouping has called a “day of rage.”

Mountains, Sea and Toxic Waste: Tabarkans Protest Local Dump

The town of Tabarka, nestled between green mountains and the sea, close to the Algerian border, boasts a natural beauty that has made it a major tourist attraction for decades. In 2017, nearly a quarter of a million tourists visited Tabarka and its nearby mountain villages according to one report. Despite the beauty, the town’s main trash dump had been near one of the main roads entering the town for years until 2015, when it was finally moved. But the new dump location is near a hospital, close to a training school for the hospitality sector, and may be leaking into local water resources. When locals living near the dump protested earlier this year by blocking a national highway, calling on officials to move it elsewhere, several were briefly detainedby police.

Tunisia’s Health Workers Overloaded by Covid-19

As the number of Tunisians infected with Covid-19 continues to climb, hospital facilities are on the frontlines without the means they need to handle the situation. According to the National Medical Council (CNOM), three physicians have died, ten have been hospitalized and hundreds of medical and paramedical personnel have been infected with the virus. How are medical and paramedical professionals handling the situation?

Covid-19: The Wretched of Tunisia

The general lockdown imposed in Tunisia during the first wave of Covid-19 had disastrous consequences for the most disadvantaged segments of the population. A new study published by the Tunisian Forum for Economic and Social Rights (FTDES) examines the situation of women farm laborers, cleaning ladies in hospitals, construction workers as well as waiters at cafés, restaurants and bars. Employees already in precarious situations in Tunisia have become more vulnerable than ever.

Covid-19: Picking up Europe’s Phone Calls in Tunis During a Pandemic

When Tunisia went into lockdown from March to June, most private sector businesses experienced at least some stoppage of work. As might be expected, the sector that saw the least closures was the health sector, where 45 percent of businesses remained open, according to an official study. But in the number two position was the information and communication sector—which includes call centers—where 42 percent stayed open without interruptions. According to a new report looking at the rights of call center workers, call centers were “granted authorization to maintain physical operations as an ‘essential service’” even though many maintained “tightly packed spaces with shared workstations and equipment…fertile ground for the virus to spread.”

“They choked me, kicked me”: Cops Assault Protests Against Police Immunity Law

On Tuesday, October 6, demonstrators gathered in front of Parliament to protest a draft law under discussion seeking to grant security forces legal immunity from prosecution for use of force—the first of several protests against the law this week. Police forces then assaulted protesters and detained four of them at a police station in the Bardo neighborhood. Meshkal/Nawaat spoke with the four people who were detained and later released about the police abuse they experienced.

Abir Moussi: A Progressive, You Say?

With opposition to political Islam as her hobbyhorse, the former RCD member and current president of the Free Destourian Party (PDL) Abir Moussi has become the figurehead of opposition to Ennahdha. This positioning on the political chessboard has resulted in a meteoric rise. But is she really opposed to the Islamists’ social vision? Is she really progressive?

Tunisia : Bringing an end to Personal Status

A hostage to its « sacro-patriarchal » paradigm, Tunisia’s Code of Personal Status has become a glass ceiling—blocking women’s access to full and complete citizenship and preventing them from enjoying all of their human rights—in a society where the demand for equality between men and women presents a permanent threat to a public order that is gendered.

Inside Beity: Single mothers, scarred and dreaming of autonomy

Some 715 out-of-wedlock births were reported in 2019, according to the annual report on the activities of childhood protection officers. The majority of these births (44.33%, or 317 births) took place in the central-eastern part of Tunisia. What is the fate of single mothers in a society that ostracizes them? Nawaat went to meet three of these young mothers at Beity, a shelter that offers assistance to women in distress and victims of violence.

Egyptian authorities must stop harassing Lina Attalah

Lina Attalah, Mada Masr’s editor in chief, was arrested on Sunday May 17, 2020, outside the Tora Prison complex in Cairo. Law enforcement officials informed her colleagues that she will be held overnight and will appear before the prosecutor tomorrow morning. Attalah was arrested while she was interviewing Laila Soueif, the mother of imprisoned activist Alaa Abd El Fattah, who had been on a hunger strike for 35 days. She was released on bail later in the evening.