UPR of Tunisia – Joint contribution from MRG and partners
Minority Rights Group International (MRG) calls on UN member states to use the opportunity of the 4th Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of Tunisia, scheduled for November 2022, to address the situation of persons belonging to minorities and other marginalised groups including persons belonging to ethnic or religious minorities, indigenous people, migrants, asylum-seekers, and Lesbian Gay Bisexual, Trans Queer and Intersex (LGBTQI+) persons. in the country.
This submission to the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) ahead of review of Tunisia at the 41st session is based on information gathered by Minority Rights Group International in Tunisia, in partnership with Unité dans la Diversité, Association pour la Promotion du Droit à la Difference and Terre d’Asile Tunisie. The report provides information about the situation of human rights in Tunisia with a focus on minorities and other marginalized groups including persons belonging to ethnic or religious minorities, indigenous people, migrants, asylum-seekers, and Lesbian Gay Bisexual, Trans Queer and Intersex (LGBTQI+) persons.
This submission is written in the context of increased political and social tension, accentuated by the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the already fragile social and economic situation in Tunisia. This context and the impact of the pandemic aggravated the social and legal challenges faced by the populations covered in this report, in particular with regard to their right to health. Existing difficulties have worsened due to an economic crisis that has impacted all segments of Tunisian society, and which has led to a prolonged period of protests across the country in 2021.
MRG and its partners urge States to recommend to Tunisia to:
- Adopt a comprehensive legislation prohibiting all forms of discrimination, including discrimination based on gender, ethnicity, religion or belief, language, indigenous status, sexual orientation or gender identity, in line with international standards.
- Ensure the full implementation of the 2018 Law on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, including the establishment of the national committee to combat racial discrimination.
- Abolish art.230 of the Penal Code criminalizing sexual intercourses between consenting adults of the same sex, and ensure that Article 226 and 226bis of the same Code are not used to arrest, detain or harass individuals based on their real or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity.
- Hold accountable the perpetrators of human rights violations and ensure a safe and inclusive public space for everyone – and in particular for persons from minority groups such as the LGBTQI+ community.
- Ratify the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families and guarantee dignified and decent living conditions
- Protect asylum seekers, refugees and victims of trafficking, victims of violence and discrimination in line with its human rights obligations, and in no case expose them to risks of prosecution and refoulement
- Uphold the right to freedom of religion or belief to bring the practice in line with the 2014 Constitution and with Article 18 of the ICCPR, including by the recognition of communities such as the Baha’is, as well as the right not to practice any religion or to convert.