Tunisia: What roadmap for civil society?

Newsletter, Tunisia

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Tunisia is currently undergoing a perilous change of direction, the scope of which cannot yet be estimated, let alone the consequences.

Following the measures taken by the President of the Republic on 25 July, the Presidential Decree 117 of 22 September 2021 creates an unprecedented situation. While ratifying the exceptional measures, which have been extended until further notice, this decree partially suspends the application of the 2014 Constitution by retaining only the provisions that do not contradict the presidential decree, thereby upsetting the constitutional order and giving the President of the Republic full powers.  

The work of the various civil society groups and organisations involved in the “tripartite dialogue” project led by EuroMed Rights – which has been working tirelessly on these issues for the past eight years – has been de facto rendered obsolete. Numerous issues related to the country’s new political and institutional situation are being discussed by the members of the various working groups of this tripartite dialogue, with a view to ending the crisis.  

In keeping with its mission and its belief in dialogue between civil society and the authorities, EuroMed Rights will pursue its commitment to upholding human rights and democracy by conducting, with the support of Tunisian civil society, a series of consultations on issues that are crucial to Tunisia’s future, such as the distribution of power, women’s rights, the rights of migrants, and the independence of the judiciary.  

The first debate, held on 30 and 31 October, concluded with several recommendations. These included: setting as short a time limit as possible for ending the period of exception; avoiding adopting any legislative amendments – particularly in the area of women’s rights – or amendments relating to the High Judicial Council during this period; enabling the participation of civil society in the debate on mechanisms for ending the period of exception; and finally, respecting collective rights, individual freedoms and the independence of the Judiciary.

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