Rights 216

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.

French gay marriage recognized in Tunisia: What’s the real story?

Shams, an association that campaigns for the decriminalization of homosexuality in Tunisia, announced on its Facebook page that the marriage of a French man and Tunisian man in France had been recognized by the Tunisian government. The marriage was recorded on the Tunisian spouse’s birth certificate. Upon the announcement, several English-language media outlets relayed the information, tentatively qualifying Tunisia as “the first Arab country to recognize gay marriage”.

Confinement: In Tunisia, Sub-Saharan migrants in distress

Sub-Saharan Africans in Tunisia number 4,200 asylum seekers and 7,000 students, according to the National Observatory of Migration. Since the beginning of the confinement period, many of these migrants, both declared and irregular, are living in extreme precarity. Some of their stories have circulated on social media alerting the public to the vulnerability of those unable to afford rent and meet their most basic needs.

“Deportato”, a short documentary by Hammadi Lassoued

Under the bilateral repatriation agreement signed between Italy and Tunisia in April 2011, the hopes and aspirations of thousands of Tunisian youths have been shattered. This film tells the story and journey of five Tunisian migrants deported from Italy. From the “gouna” to Lampedusa and from Palermo to Ennfidha airport, they testify about the reasons that led them to leave, the conditions of their journey and their disappointments. 

From Eritrea to Tunisia through Libya: Refugees escaping death

On March 21, 2019, the Medenine refugee shelter closed its doors. Tunisia Red Crescent’s regional committee called for the closure two weeks after the protest movement carried out by a group of immigrants, refugees and asylum seekers on March 7. Protesters had left the center and set out on foot towards the Libyan border, calling attention to catastrophic conditions at the center, a facility which houses 210 occupants in spite of a 100-person capacity. It was here where, on March 11, a 15 year-old asylum seeker attempted suicide by cutting his wrists. Nawaat met with some of its residents to uncover the truth about this shelter.

Interview with A. Guellali about children of Tunisian ISIS fighters in conflict areas

Human Rights Watch has recently criticized the inaction of Tunisian authorities in the attempt to bring home the children of Tunisian ISIS fighters. The NGO says that 200 Tunisian children are currently being held in prisons and camps in Libya, Syria and Iraq. In an interview with Amna Guellali, Human Rights Watch director for Tunisia, we touch on an HRW study concerning the situation of these children today.

Eric, Ivorian and illegal in Tunisia

On December 23, 2018, Falikou Coulibaly, president of the Association of Ivorians in Tunisia, was killed during a robbery in Soukra (Greater Tunis). As protests led by the Subsaharian community multiplied across the capital, Nawaat met Eric. Settled in Tunisia since March 2017, the 31 year old Ivorian—like hundreds of his compatriots, has found himself uncapable of regularizing his status. Forced to relinquish his studies, Eric got a job as a construction worker. Racist acts of aggression, a lack of medical care and an exploitative work situation are some of the challenges he faces on a daily basis.