EuroMed Rights’ work in Tunisia aims at reinforcing and creating synergies between national and international civil society actors, and the independent State instances in four areas: justice reform, women’s rights and gender equality, individual freedoms and the establishment of independent institutions.
For several years, EuroMed Rights has also been spearheading a “tripartite dialogue” between civil society, the Tunisian Government and the EU in order to enhance human rights standards in EU-Tunisia bilateral relations in the area of gender equality, the rights of migrants and refugees, justice reform, and economic and social rights.
EuroMed Rights’ most recent publications on Tunisia and the list of members related to this programme are available on the right hand-side of this page.
All along 2020, EuroMed Rights continued playing a key facilitating role between actors with different interests and perceptions, leading to “co-create” positions outside the usual circle of like-minded civil society organisations.
This original approach of “co-creation”, as labelled by an external evaluation conducted in early 2021, was evidenced in the autumn of 2020, when the Tunisian Ministry of Justice and the Association of Magistrates decided to jointly define the scope of independence of the Tunisian courts. This came from a background, beginning in 2019, where EuroMed Rights, in partnership with the association of Tunisian magistrates, had set up working groups on justice reform to draft four draft laws aimed at increasing the independence of the judiciary. The working groups are made up of administrative, judicial and financial judges and academics.
In its work to support the League of Independent National Instances (LINI), EuroMed Rights focused on strengthening their capacities, helping them address common challenges they encounter in the implementation of their mandates. In 2020, these challenges included, among others, setting up final structures and modes of cooperation. As an example, the presidents of eight public instances engaged in the League decided in June 2020 to open the meetings of their respective executive committees to each other, to ensure sound synergies and exchange. They also discussed their constitutional role and supported the president of the anti-corruption instance following his dismissal – by triggering a debate at the Tunisian Parliament, which led to discussion among the instances, the public and the government.
Other examples of this “co-creation” include the commitment made in February 2020 by six institutions to be part of a new national group created and facilitated by EuroMed Rights. A group whose objective is to influence Tunisia’s foreign policy, in particular its relations with the EU. In October, it was the turn of the Tunisian parliamentary blocs’ representatives to agree on participating in the meetings of EuroMed Rights Tripartite Dialogue’s working groups aimed at fostering the dialogue between civil society, the Tunisian government and the EU.
Another change influenced by EuroMed Rights was when, on 22 April 2020, the Council of Europe invited the Tunisian Government to accede to the Istanbul Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women. So far only two countries outside Europe have been invited to join the Convention. This invitation is an important international recognition of Tunisia’s efforts in this regard, i.e. the national law to combat violence against women approved in 2017. This law is of very high standard, to a large extent due to the advocacy work of a coalition of Tunisian women’s right organisations. EuroMed Rights mobilised and facilitated the coalition and trained its members on how to use the Istanbul Convention as a standard setting tool in their advocacy both through its regional and national gender working groups. As a follow-up, EuroMed Rights and partners will, in 2021, organise five training workshops for civil society in different parts of Tunisia on the Convention, and advocate for the adoption of the bill for the ratification of the Convention with legislative decision-makers.