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UPR Media Briefing Note


Tuesday, 22 May 2012 (Morning)
For use of information media; not an official record

State under review

Tunisia
Represented by six-member delegation headed by Mr. Samir DILOU, Minister for Human Rights and Transitional Justice of Tunisia.

Documents

To access national report, compilation of UN information, and summary of stakeholders’ information, visit Tunisia page on UPR website.

Troika *

Senegal, United States, Romania.

Opening statement by State under review

Key points from opening statement of State under review:

  • Noted that the Tunisian revolution of last year led to a democratic transition, manifested through free and fair elections where all political views were allowed; thereafter the State was now striving to move forward to put an end to the practices of the past and to guarantee an atmosphere of trust and uphold all human rights;
  • The new Government had recently received three UN Special Procedure mandate holders and expected to receive three additional mandate holders this year;
  • The Government also signed the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and was aiming to set up a national anti-torture body to set up a law in that regard; additional measures have been put in place to combat all practices of torture and ill-treatment; the security service has recently been reformed to rebuild the security apparatus in accordance with the objectives of the revolution;
  • The new Government has also taken several measures to safeguard the practices of civil society in the country and has removed all restrictions formerly placed for NGOs, who can now carry out their practices freely; a general amnesty law was recently enacted aimed to uphold the rights of human rights defenders and guarantee the rights of those who fell victim to the injustices of the former regime;
  • Efforts have been made by the new Government to prevent violence against women and to promote protection of women; a number of steps were also being taken to fully promote the rights of children;
  • The financial law of 2012 aimed to establish a national budget to enhance the provisions of social services for all; a number of efforts were also underway to combat poverty
  • The lack of true democracy in the country during the past had a strong effect on the need for it now; the effects of the practices of the previous regime are still visible, but the State was firmly committed to ensure that Tunisians could live in a situation of justice;
  • The Minister noted that last week the Government signed an agreement with the OHCHR and UNDP to support reform efforts in line with the current phase of transitional justice.

 (See full statement on Tunisia page on the UPR Extranet)

Participants

In total, 76 States participated in the discussion:  37 HRC members and 39 observers  (Statements available on Tunisia page on the UPR Extranet)

Positive achievements

Positive achievements noted by delegations included, among others:

  • The release of political prisoners and efforts to provide redress to these victims;
  • The drafting of new legislation to ensure the independence of the judicial system;
  • Efforts to uphold child protection and the incorporation of human rights in the school system;
  • The accession to international treaties as recommended during the first UPR;
  • The extension of a standing invitation to Special Procedures.

Issues and Questions

Main issues and questions raised by the Working Group:

  • Efforts to respect the rights of human rights defenders and civil society;
  • Challenges faced in the area of press freedom and freedom of expression;
  • Attacks against peaceful protesters and alleged acts of torture and ill treatment;
  • Measures taken to ensure police were trained in the area of human rights;
  • Steps taken to guarantee the independence of the judiciary;
  • Steps being taken to eliminate social and economic disparities.

Recommendations

In total, States participating in the discussion posed a series of recommendations to Tunisia.  These included, among others: 

  • To ratify the second OP to the ICCPR (death penalty), the third OP to the CRC (communications), the OP to the CESCR (communications), and ILO Convention 189 (domestic workers);
  • Several States urged Tunisia to abolish the death penalty;
  • To institute human rights training for law enforcement officials;
  • To further efforts to effectively prohibit torture and to thoroughly investigate all alleged cases of ill treatment and torture including crimes committed by the former regime in view of bringing those responsible to justice;
  • To ensure that the new Constitution included provisions to ensure effective redress for victims of torture;
  • To set up an independent monitoring body in line with OPCAT ratification that would allow NGO access to prisons;
  • Make improvements to the security and justice sectors to protect demonstrators and ensure that force is applied only in a manner consistent with international human rights obligations;
  • To take appropriate measures to ensure that freedom of assembly and expression was upheld and not threatened and to adopt measures to guarantee adequate protection and respect for the rights to information and to uphold the freedom of the press; 
  • To ensure the new Constitution ensured the freedom of religion or belief and to eliminate the provisions criminalizing defamation;
  • To eliminate patriarchal attitudes and negative stereotypes of women and to adopt effective legislation and policies to accelerate the eradication of employment discrimination against women;
  • To ensure that women and girls with disabilities have access to inclusive education and can participate fully in political and public life; to raise more awareness and protect the rights of persons with disabilities;
  • to abolish discriminatory laws against women and to put in place necessary legislation to eliminate gender-based violence;
  • To speed up efforts to eradicate poverty and reduce unemployment; to strengthen policies to ensure access to healthcare, education and social services for rural populations; and institute development projects in underdeveloped regions to generate employment.

Adoption of report of Working Group

The adoption of the report of the UPR Working Group on Tunisia is scheduled to take place on Friday, 25 May 2012.

 The troikas are a group of three States selected through a drawing of lots who serve as rapporteurs and who are charged with preparing the report of the Working Group on the country review with the involvement of the State under review and assistance from the OHCHR. 

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