Tunisia

The Arab NGO Network for Development (ANND) launched a book on the enabling environment of civil society in the Arab region. The publication aims to present an overview of the current situation of civil society organizations in Tunisia, Egypt, Lebanon, Iraq, Syria, and Palestine. It uses several country-specific indicators regarding the establishment of civil society organizations and their success. The current conflicts raging in the Arab region constitutes a serious challenge, especially in lack of attention to laws regarding the work of civil associations, in addition to the shifts faced in funding.

The publication highlights several legal challenges, especially those resulting from the lack of commitment to the principles of the separation of powers, as applied by democratic societies, as laws and regulations are often politicized. The book includes several recommendations to invigorate the work of civil society organizations in the regional, in order to consolidate the values of justice, equality, and sustainable development.

The peoples’ uprisings in the Arab region presented a golden occasion for revisiting the European Neighborhood Policy (ENP) and particularly the partnership between the Arab countries and the European Union (EU).  The Joint Communication of the High Representative and European Commission, “A New Response to a Changing Neighborhood, ” highlighted important lessons learnt but remained an exercise of self-assessment without the engagement of EU partners and relevant stakeholders (including civil society) for what are widely considered today as major historical changes in the Arab countries.

For the fourth successive year, a delegation of human rights and development civil society organizations from the Arab region will be visiting the European institutions in Brussels between the 8th and the 12th  of December 2014. The Arab delegation includes civil society representatives from Egypt, Jordan, Palestine, Morocco, Syria, Tunisia and Lebanon.

This visit seeks to provide a platform for dialogue and exchange between civil society organizations from the Arab region and European policy makers at the Parliament and Commission around the EU’s support and involvement in the region.

Access to state-provided abortion services has worsened since the Tunisian Revolution, according to the Tunisian Association of Democratic Women (ATFD). residents of some regions in the country, especially in the South and the North West, have complained that abortion services have not been available since the Revolution.

Manifestation in memory of
victims in violence,
(Photo: S. Rougeaux/ASF)

Eight Tunisian human rights associations, headed by Avocats Sans Frontières, have categorized 7,454 cases of human rights violations and filed them into databases. A better knowledge of that information will contribute to the transitional justice process currently underway in the country that is the beacon of hope for the Arab Spring.

Zeyneb Farhat, ATFD.
(Photo: Isart)

Tunisian civil society is rallying in support of a 27 years-old woman who accused two policemen of raping her on September 3. The woman and her fiancé were summoned by a judge on Wednesday to face charges of “indecency” brought by those officers. Leading non governmental organizations, including the Tunisian Association of Democratic Women (ATFD) and the Tunisian League of Human Rights (LTDH), have formed a committee to co-ordinate a campaign to defend the couple.

Photo: Women in the Mediterranean

The newly written constitutional clause protecting women’s rights in the Tunisian constitution has angered feminists and opposition politicians with wording that calls women the “associate” of man, reported journalist Mischa Benoit-Lavelle on Tunisia Live news portal.

Photo: Tunis-Afrique Press

The situation of media in post-Revolution Tunisia and ways to promote it were discussed at a meeting attended by National Constituent Assembly (NCA) members, representatives of the Tunisian General Labour Union (UGTT), the National Independent Council for Information and Communication and the Tunisian League for Human Rights (LTDH, member of the Social Watch national coalition).

Photo: TunisiaLive

Thousands of demonstrators chanted “No to violence”, ”No to extremism”, “No Niqab, no to Salafism” and “Universities are free, extremism out,” at a march that took place in Tunis last Saturday, convened by political parties, unions and civil society organizations calling for freedom of expression. Violations and assaults committed by a group of Salafists against residents of Sejnane were confirmed by Abdel Sattar Ben Moussa, President of the Tunisian League of Human Rights (LTDH, one of the national focal points of Social Watch).

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