Tunisia: new law on violence against women approved

No marriage after rape of minors, abuse sanctioned

27 July, 12:08

    TUNIS - After a long debate and postponements in Parliament, 146 Tunisian MPS unanimously voted in favor of legislation on violence against women and gender equality.

    The law's 43 articles divided into five chapters are aimed at providing effective measures against any form of gender-based violence or abuse, to ensure that the dignity of women and gender equality, guaranteed by the constitution, are respected through a global approach based on prevention, ensuring that abusers face justice and the protection of victims. The law also vies to eliminate gender inequality in the workplace.

    Relevant changes include the abolition of article 227-bis in the criminal code, which provides for a sort of ''pardon'' for rapists of a minor if they marry their victim.

    The new legislation provides for harsh sentences for rapists and moves the ''age of consent'' for sex from 13 to 16.

    Another fundamental point is article 17, which provides for fines from 500 to 1,000 dinars for those molesting women in public.

    Employing minors (young girls) for house work is also punished with prison terms between three and six months for employees.

    The legislation however does not address the issue of gender inequality in inheritance law. A proposal in favor of women was not approved by the commission examining the legislation last year because it did not abide by Islamic law. 

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