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.
EuroMed Rights’ justice reform work has gained increasing credibility among judges and organisations such as the Association of Tunisian Magistrates. In 2019, EuroMed Rights set up a group to deal with the status of judges and the reorganisation of the entire judicial system. A series of activities, including advocacy missions, led to the promulgation of key texts regarding the independence of the judiciary, such as the organic law on the powers, organisation and procedures of the Court of Auditors.
This reference group has mainstreamed the gender dimension in its work to raise awareness and train relevant actors, including the judges themselves, on how to put into practice the 2017 law on violence against women. A technical guide was widely distributed within the judiciary at both the national and regional level to help all jurisdictions overcome the difficulties observed with the application of the law. Numerous testimonies from judges and specialised organisations, for instance in the Jendouba governorate, have confirmed the importance of this guide for their work.
In addition to justice reform, one of the key issues for Tunisia after the 2011 revolution is the implementation of its Constitution adopted in January 2014. Civil society organisations participated in the drafting of the Constitution in order to achieve a text that enshrines a democratic regime based on the rule of law and its institutions. At the heart of this constitutional mechanism is the creation of independent national bodies that “work to strengthen democracy”.
Hence, with the support of EuroMed Rights and its partners, the League of Independent National Bodies (Ligue des Instances Nationales Indépendantes – LINI) was created in 2018 to lend more visibility and strength to these bodies. Its growing credibility with the media and the general public has led the head of the Tunisian government to publicly commit himself in its favour at the annual LINI conference in April 2019. Subsequently, the President of the Republic himself received a LINI delegation for the first time since its creation.
By putting their stamp on the Tunisian political scene and combining forces, these independent national bodies were able to modify the terms of reference of the European project aimed at providing them with financial support, following a meeting organised by EuroMed Rights between the Head of the EU Delegation to Tunisia and the presidents of these bodies.
In the specific framework of the Tripartite Dialogue, in 2019, EuroMed Rights’ Working Group (composed of Tunisian civil society representatives, experts and academics) contacted representatives of the EU and its Member States in Tunisia, inviting them to be actively involved in a process aimed at building a longer-term vision of the EU-Tunisia partnership beyond the constraints of the European Neighbourhood Policy.
Later on, the EU and Tunisian authorities formalised the practice of tripartite “debriefing” meetings at the Subcommittee on Human Rights, Rule of Law and Democracy, in the framework of the EU-Tunisia Association Agreement.