In Tunisia, the National Assembly has approved the final articles of the country's new Constitution that enshrines freedom of association, the right to strike, gender equality and women's protection against violence. Also, a new independent government was formed with the main task of preparing for the elections this year to be supervised by the newly elected Independent Electoral Commission. These important milestones take place three years after the uprising against dictatorship of Ben Ali, which meant the start of a wave of Arab revolts. The role of the country’s largest trade union coalition UGTT and its member unions was crucial during the negotiations, which shows the importance of the trade union movement in any transition process towards democracy. SOLIDAR lauds as well the efforts made by Mustapha Ben Jaafar, President of the Constituent Assembly to reach a consensus among all parties.
SOLIDAR welcomes that the Constitution puts a clear emphasis on a civil state and democracy, on freedom of worship and on the independence of the three powers (executive, legislative and media). Of crucial importance to guarantee fundamental workers’ rights and the future democratic functioning of the country are the right to freedom of association, the right to organise and the right to strike, now enshrined in the Tunisian Constitution.
Also for the first time an Arab country has explicitly registered in its new Constitution the equality between men and women. Thanks to the efforts of civil society organisations and in particular the struggles of women, Tunisia has managed to equally guarantee all fundamental constitutional rights for both women and men, still sadly absent in the rest of the Arab world. SOLIDAR will continues to advocate towards policy makers working on the European Neighbourhood Policy on the importance of supporting and strengthening civil society organisations in all MENA countries.
In the framework of the SOLIDAR cooperation network for Social Justice in the Middle East and North Africa, we will launch together with FEPS a joint publication on the main challenges regarding women’s rights and gender equality in the MENA region with expert articles about Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia and Palestine. The publication will be presented during a public event in the European Parliament on 20 February where all participants will have the opportunity to enter in debate with a women delegation from the region.
With this important Tunisian achievement in mind, we will continue to support our local and regional partners to assure that now the fundamental rights are written on paper, they will also be guaranteed in practice.