Tunisia’s grim record on torture under the spotlight

The Tunisian authorities’ persistent use of torture and other ill-treatment in detention casts a dark shadow over the human rights gains of recent years, said Amnesty International ahead of a review of the country’s human rights record by the UN Committee against Torture on 20 and 21 April in Geneva.
“While the Tunisian authorities have taken some steps to break the pattern of brutal repression that marked former President Ben Ali’s rule, torture remains common in the country and the government appears to be dragging its feet over strengthening safeguards and introducing new reforms to prevent and punish such abuses,” said Magdalena Mughrabi, interim Deputy Director of the Middle East and North Africa Programme at Amnesty International.

“The rising security threats faced by Tunisia must not be used to justify a return to the abusive tactics of the past. The authorities must urgently address shortfalls in its human rights record and ensure that allegations of torture and other ill-treatment – including sexual and gender-based violence – are effectively investigated and those responsible are brought to justice.”

Amnesty International is also calling on Tunisia’s authorities to bring their definition of torture in line with international law, and to strengthen existing legal provisions to enhance respect for detainees’ rights including those arrested on charges of terrorism. They must also end the harassment and intimidation of suspects and their families.

In January the organization published new evidence of deaths in custody and torture.

Amnesty International Tunisia’s Director Lotfi Azouz is available for interviews in Arabic and French from Tunis. 

Talking points include

  • Tunisia’s definition of torture falls short of international law
  • Use of torture and other ill-treatment in detention
  • Respect for human rights in the context of counter-terrorism
  • Harassment and intimidation of suspects and family members
  • Sexual and gender-based violence
  • Forced anal examinations of men accused of engaging in consensual same-sex activity
  • Extradition and refoulement
  • Impunity for torture and other ill-treatment

For more information please see Tunisia Submission to the UN Committee against Torture