Tunisia: comprehensive new law on violence against women
On July 26, the Tunisian Parliament unanimously adopted a comprehensive law addressing all forms of violence against women, psychological and economic violence as well as physical. The law, the first of its kind in North Africa, mandates treatment for the victims and highlights the fundamental importance of education in support of the principles of human rights and gender equality.
With the adoption of this law, Tunisia has shown that violence against women is not a private 'domestic' issue but a phenomenon which concerns all of society. Withdrawing a complaint will no longer prevent the state from prosecuting an aggressor; those who commit rape can no longer escape prosecution by marrying the victim. Employing a minor in domestic work is now punishable by a prison term. And the law will assist unions struggling against gender-based violence and sexual harassment at the workplace.
Habib Rajab, general secretary of the IUF-affiliated FGAT-UGTT, welcomed the adoption of the law as 'A major advance in the legal protection of women against all forms of violence" achieved through the dedicated work of women parliamentary deputies and the pressure of civil society including the national center UGTT, which has pushed for the incorporation of international standards into national law.