Because we believe in a Tunisia that brings us all together regardless of our differences, colors, various life styles and diverse beliefs; because we support this freedom that we have so partially reached; because all of us, individuals and society, must protect ourselves from discrimination, humiliation and exclusion; and because we strive to pave the way for a future of freedoms for the next generations;

We consider that today we witness a historic moment with the release of the Report of the Commission on Individual Freedoms and Equality and its dissemination to the public at large. We are fully aware of our responsibility to seize this significant opportunity to purge Tunisian legislation from the grip of discrimination and other forms of restriction and repression of freedoms in order to meet the requirements of the 27 January 2014 Constitution of Tunisia and to harmonize our legislation with international human rights standards and current trends in the field of human rights and public and individual freedoms.

As representatives of associations, organizations, unions, parties and important personalities, we stand strongly behind the recommendations of the Commission on Equality and Individual Freedoms and its milestone conclusions and serious proposals, that lead the way for the creation of progressive legislation.  For these reasons we would like to:

  • First, adapt the Tunisian legislation to the imperatives of the 2014 Constitution. This Constitution, which was welcomed by Tunisian men and women and praised by the entire world upon its adoption, has enshrined a significant number of freedoms, whether public or individual without reservation or discrimination, thus influencing the debate on the model of society that we long for and ending any skepticisms around the right of Tunisian citizens to a humane, dignified and secure life.  The Constitution heightened the hope that people are  " the makers of their own history, believing in science, work, and creativity as noble human values, seeking always to be pioneers, aspiring to contribute to the development of civilization, on the basis of the independence of national decision-making, world peace, and human solidarity,"(Preamble of the Constitution) Today, the report proposes the concretization of these values ​​and constitutional provisions so that they do not remain a dead letter.
  • Second, to realize the demands of Tunisian intellectuals, legislators, politicians and citizens in their query over generations for the recognition and respect of equality and individual freedoms as an integral part of universal human rights, aspirations that it is high time to satisfy.
  • Third, to support our country's democracy by ending all violations and restrictions affecting individual freedoms and undermining equality, which have for long constituted the bedrock of corruption and tyranny. The question of individual liberties has always served as a pretext to persecute and isolate political opposition.  Discrimination and intolerance have been a gateway to the exclusion of the most vulnerable groups, including women and youth, by depriving them from participation in public life, well known traits of authoritarian regimes.
  • Fourth, to promote a rule of law that is based on the pillars of citizenship and the will of the people. Tunisians have embarked, over centuries, on a long and bitter journey, in order to master their own destiny at the end. A cherished ambition that cannot be concretized without the rehabilitation of the individual, along with disseminating confidence in the national community and in alliance with the legal texts and the democratic institutions, guaranteeing a decent communal life that is free of all exclusions. 
  • Fifth, to uphold the progress of our country since the 2011 revolution and to strengthen the developments in the civic, social and legal spheres leading to the promotion of our society as well as to advance the values of freedom and equality without which neither dignity for the individual not peace for society can be attained.
  • Sixth, to make dignity a daily practice for the individuals, which can only be achieved, by ensuring the minimal rights of employment, healthcare, education and suitable housing. The state has the obligation to take steps, to the maximum of its available resources, in order to achieve progressively the full realization of these social, economic and cultural rights. Likewise, it is important to develop education to freedom and to the principle that the individual is master of himself, nurturing his ability to criticize and resist the dominance of the community and consensus. Building social solidarity between different segments of society and between generations requires above all that individuals to be free in their minds, eager to acquire and value freedom in all its dimensions and aspects.

Because it is essential that all the forces support this common ground and in order to remove all inaccuracies that have been communicated on the contents of the report, we address ourselves  today to all the politicians, parties, trade unions, youth, Parliamentarians, national and international associations and influencing personalities  from all walks of life in culture, arts, society and sports, to join our ranks in supporting and signing the Tunisian Covenant for Equality and Individual Freedoms.

Our support of the report of the Commission for Individual Liberties and Equality is a basis to fend for and endorse individual freedoms thus breaking away from distortion, negative exploitation and violence.  We are convinced that a legislative reform is a must today, in order to move forward and build Tunisia’s second republic. One that adheres to the full respect of freedom and equality without distinction of sex, race, color, physical appearance age, health situation, handicaps, sexual orientation, pregnancy, language, religion, political opinion or other, national or social origin, place of residence, financial situation, social mobility, civil status or other. Such respect of human rights and equality is a condition for the creation a democratic and civil state.

 

Our strife to reach these goals leads out to commit to these points:

 

  1. The right to life is inherent to every human being and no other person, authority or State can give it nor deprive anybody of it, hence the orientation towards the abolition of death penalty;
  2. Equality is a guarantee of the dignity of human beings. Discrimination cannot be accepted for any ground. The state must oppose any form of discrimination in the laws it adopts so as not to reproduce it in society. Today, the rule of law cannot apply to one part of the population to the exclusion of the other under any pretext. Sex cannot be used to justify discrimination, marginalization or exclusion in terms of rights and freedoms. Based on this principle, all forms of legal discrimination between women and men and between children must be banned, whether for marriage, nationality, family status, guardianship or custody of children, resources, inheritance, family name or other ... All forms of discrimination prevailing in practice shall be fought and the State is responsible for combating all manifestations of hatred, segregation and violence based on discrimination between people including homophobia;
  3. Freedom and bodily integrity. Every individual is free and responsible for his body because the preservation of physical integrity guarantees the safeguarding of human dignity; No other person, authority or state has the right to violate the bodies of others through the law or in practice. Therefore, the body must be protected against torture, harm or pain, which requires the development of a more precise definition of torture in national law. The protection of the human body also includes its preservation against any commercial, scientific or medical use that is not subject to the prior consent of the person and to his/her free and enlightened will. Therefore, it is necessary to put an end to practices that violate the freedom and sanctity of the body, whether committed in law or in accordance with current practice for legal, social, cultural, political or other considerations;
  4. The presumption of innocence is a fundamental principle. No one shall be deprived of his or her liberty arbitrarily.  The deprivation of liberty must only be inflicted by virtue of previously conceived legal texts which are clearly and precisely formulated, so any reasonable person could predict a specific act was a crime. No detention can be carried out without the need for the necessary guarantees for a fair trial. Prisoners or detainees enjoy human rights that ensure respect for their dignity. Consequently, the revision of the Code of Criminal Procedure and the revision of all criminal legislation aim to limit their repressive measures, including provisions giving authorities broad powers to restrict freedoms under the state of emergency;
  5. Private life should be governed by freedom and the state should not arbitrarily interfere in it; The State shall protect the privacy of individuals, the confidentiality of their personal data, the sanctity of their homes, their property, their reputation and their honor from any interference or violation. The rehabilitation of private life also requires the revision of a number of laws, including the law on terrorism and the texts governing the state of emergency;
  6. Freedom of thought, conscience and religion is an absolute right that cannot be restricted. It includes the freedom of thought in all areas and the freedom of personal beliefs including whether or not to adopt a religion or a belief, and whether or not to practice religious rites. No interference or coercion can be imposed by anyone on these freedoms, hence the need to repeal all legal texts that suggest a preference for a given religious belief to the detriment of others, as well as those that make a distinction between citizens on the basis of their religion and those which directly or indirectly deprive religious minorities of their civil, political, economic, social or cultural rights. It is also necessary to prohibit and penalize all discriminatory practices based on thought, conscience or religion, and the State is responsible for combating calls for violence, discrimination or hatred;
  7. Art, creation, scientific research and knowledge are liberties that should not be restricted under ideological, political, religious or moral pretexts;
  8. Thought and opinion and their expression under whatever form are liberties which must not be hindered, canceled or restricted; Any advocacy of national, racial or religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence shall be prohibited by law.
  9. Sexual rights and freedoms for persons having reached the age of consent are an integral component of human rights that cannot be ignored, and any act that affects or violates them must be prohibited and penalized;
  10. These rights and freedoms shall apply to everyone on Tunisian soil. The State shall protect the exercise of those rights in all spheres, whether public or private. The judiciary shall be the guarantor of those rights. Any limitations that can be imposed on the exercise of the rights and freedoms enounced in this Charter shall not compromise their essence and shall be consistent with the Constitution and international standards and shall be implemented only to protect the rights of others, public security, national defense, public health or public morality, while respecting the proportionality between these provisions and the obligations deriving therefrom.

 

The Signatory associations and organizations:

  1. Tunisian Coalition Against Death Penalty
  2. Tunisian Association of Democratic Women
  3. Tunisian Association for the Defense of Individual Liberties
  4. Tunisian Association for the Defense of University Values
  5. Tunisian Association for the Defense of Child’s Rights
  6. Tunisian Association for the Fight against Sexually Transmitted Diseases and AIDS, Tunis
  7. Tunisian League for the Defense of Human Rights
  8. Tunisian Forum of Economic and Social Rights
  9. National Union of Tunisian Journalists
  10. Al Bawsala Association
  11. Street Art Association
  12. Tunisian Women's Association for Development Research
  13. Beity Association
  14. Tahadi Association
  15. Shams Association
  16. Together Association
  17. Dissonances Association
  18. Vigilance Association for Democracy and Civil State
  19. Damj - Tunisian Association for Justice and Equality
  20. League of Tunisian Female Voters
  21. Mawjoudin Initiative for Equality
  22. Democratic Transition and Human Rights Support Center
  23. Africa Women’s Forum
  24. EUROMED Rights
  25. International Federation for Human Rights
  26. “Let’s be active” Programme
  27. Heinrich Böll Foundation
  28. OXFAM
  29. Lawyers without borders
  30. Human Rights Watch
  31. Legal Agenda
  32. Women and Citizenship Association - El Kef
  33. Tunisia land of humans Association
  34. Tunisian Federation for Citizenship of both Shores
  35. Association of development and bordering of youth and childhood – Jendouba
  36. Soumoud Civil Collective
  37. Sounbola Association
  38. Equality & Parity Association
  39. Hyphenation Association
  40. Tunisian Association for Minority Support
  41. Joussour Association for Citizenship – El Kef
  42. Association of school creativity
  43. Citizenship and Liberties Association
  44. Mouwatinet Association
  45. Association for the promotion of the Right to Difference
  46. Citizens in Solidarity Association
  47. Observatory for the defense of the right to difference
  48. Tawhida Ben Cheikh Group for Research & Action in Women's Health
  49. Tunisia Culture and Solidarity Association – Paris
  50. World Organization Against Torture
  51. Byالحوم Association
  52. Tunis Center for Press Freedom
  53. Tunisian Association for Electoral Integrity and Democracy
  54. Coalition for Women of Tunisia
  55. Enda Inter-Arab
  56. Tunisian Association of Positive Prevention
  57. Tunisian Association of Reproductive Health
  58. Free Sight Association
  59. Manifesto of Culture Association
  60. Chouf Minorities
  61. Al-Sajine 52 Initiative
  62. Amnesty International – Tunisia Section
  63. Al Kahina Association for Culture and Development
  64. CALAM Association
  65. Psychologues du Monde Organization
  66. Path of Dignity Association
  67. Tigar Association for Joint Citizenship
  68. Rural Women Association – Jendouba
  69. Horra Organization
  70. Waai Association
  71. Unies-vers-elles Association
  72. Magida Boulila Association for Modernity – Sfax
  73. Aswat Nissa Association
  74. Fanni Raghman Anni Association
  75. International Council of Women Entrepreneurs
  76. Tunisian Council of Secularism
  77. Jamaity Association
  78. Lam Echaml Association
  79. Manifesto for Development and Citizenship Association – Beja
  80. M’nemty Association
  81. Tunisian Organization for Social Justice and Solidarity
  82. Doustouna Network
  83. Y-Peer Tunisia
  84. Woman and Leadership Association
  85. Rural Women Association
  86. Frida Association
  87. Education and Family Organization
  88. Association for the Development of Education and Family
  89. Nima Association for Development and Democracy
  90. People’s Voice Association
  91. Al-Naoura Association
  92. Zmorda Space
  93. Friends of Literature, Arts and Sciences Association