Tunisia Must Ensure the Rights to Equality and Non-discrimination Are Guaranteed in New Constitution

London, 25 November 2011
The Equal Rights Trust (ERT) has today written to the new Prime Minister of the Republic of Tunisia, M. Hamadi Jebali. ERT urged the Prime Minister to place the rights to equality and non-discrimination at the heart of national transition processes.
ERT’s letter expressed its belief that the current process of national transition and renewal in Tunisia offers a great opportunity to strengthen equality, one of the central values which motivated the Tunisian people’s movement for change. ERT urged Tunisia to seize this opportunity by placing the rights to equality and non-discrimination at the heart of any future bill of rights envisaged in the context of constitutional reform, and by including the drafting of comprehensive equality legislation in its future legislative agenda. ERT believes that in so doing, Tunisia would both be better placed to meet its international human rights obligations, and provide a strong foundation for a sustainable democratic future.

ERT’s letter also called on members of the Constituent Assembly to ensure that constitutional protection of the rights to equality and non-discrimination adopts the accepted definition of discrimination provided in international law, such that it prohibit direct and indirect discrimination, multiple discrimination, discrimination by association and perception, segregation, victimisation and harassment, and defines as discrimination the failure to make reasonable accommodations. It should also ensure that discrimination is explicitly prohibited on all grounds recognised under international law and defined in the Declaration of Principles on Equality. 

In addition, ERT recommended that the Constituent Assembly adopt comprehensive legislation prohibiting discrimination and providing for measures to achieve substantive equality. ERT also recommended that the new administration extend Tunisia’s participation in relevant international treaties including by ratifying the International Covenant on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families, and the Optional Protocol to the ICESCR. 

To read ERT’s letter to the Prime Minister of the Republic of Tunisia click here .

To read the Declaration of Principles on Equality click here .