Tunisia: New parliament must prioritize human rights

Tunisia’s newly elected parliament must commit to protecting human rights, said Amnesty International, as the country announced the preliminary results of its parliamentary elections.

In an open letter to incoming members of parliament, the organization published a human rights agenda highlighting 10 pressing issues for parliament to prioritize over the coming six months. These include electing all the required members of the constitutional court, decriminalizing freedom of expression, protecting freedom of association in the law, implementing the recommendations of the transitional justice report, as well as guaranteeing gender equality and decriminalizing same-sex relations.

“Tunisia’s new lawmakers have a crucial role to play in ending delays over stalled human rights reforms and putting in place the necessary changes needed to safeguard Tunisia’s political transition and guarantee the utmost protection for the human rights enshrined in Tunisia’s constitution,” said Heba Morayef, Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International.

“Nine years after the uprising, Tunisians deserve a country where their rights are protected and upheld, grave human rights violations of the past do not reoccur and perpetrators are brought to justice. Amnesty International’s 10-point human rights agenda provides the legislature with a concrete action plan for its first few months to bring Tunisian laws in line with its own constitution and international human rights law.

Tunisians deserve a country where their rights are protected and upheld, grave human rights violations of the past do not reoccur and perpetrators are brought to justice.
Heba Morayef, Amnesty International

“By prioritizing these 10 key issues over the next six months, Tunisia’s parliament will ensure that the country is seen as a true role model for the Middle East and North Africa when it comes to human rights.”


Despite some progress by Tunisia’s parliament in recent years including a landmark law on violence against women, the process of bringing Tunisia’s laws in line with the constitution and Tunisia’s obligations under international human rights law remains incomplete. In addition, the previous parliament’s efforts to maintain their oversight role to ensure a transparent and accountable executive branch were limited.

In its 10-point human rights agenda Amnesty International is calling on the Tunisian authorities to:

  • commit to electing the missing members of the constitutional court
  • Implement the recommendations of the Truth and Dignity Commission
  • repeal legal provisions criminalizing freedom of expression
  • protect the space for independent civil society
  • strengthen parliamentary oversight to ensure perpetrators of human rights violations are brought to justice
  • guarantee gender equality
  • decriminalize same-sex relations
  • ensure emergency measures do not violate human rights
  • Finalize establishing the Commission for Sustainable Development and the Rights of Future Generations
  • abolish the death penalty