Tunisia's lack of Constitutional Court 'hinders rights', HRW

'Repressive laws' from Ben Ali era still enforced

16 January, 13:08

    (ANSAmed) - TUNIS, JANUARY 16 - "Tunisia's progress on human rights will remain under threat until the authorities dismantle repressive laws and put in place key safeguards against abuses," said Amna Guellali, Tunisia director at Human Rights Watch, in a statement released Tuesday. The statement was issued as part of the publication of HRW's 2020 World Report, which noted that nine years after Tunisians ousted the authoritarian President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali, his laws were still being applied in the country. ''The authorities failed to scrap laws that are still being applied to punish Tunisians for peaceful criticism or for pursuing their private lives as they wish. The absence of a constitutional court, which the 2014 Constitution envisioned, deprives Tunisian citizens of the opportunity to challenge such laws,'' the statement added. It went on to underscore that the ''13 specialized court chambers created by the transitional justice law to try those responsible for past human rights abuses face numerous obstacles'', that prosecutors have ''also charged bloggers, journalists, and social media activists under a number of penal code provisions. At least 14 were prosecuted under speech offenses in 2019''. HRW noted that men had been arrested for homosexuality, that travel restrictions had been imposed on hundreds of Tunisians since 2015, and that a law had not been adopted on equal inheritance rights.(ANSAmed) .

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