Tunisia: Tunisian Women Demonstrate for Equality

A mass demonstration was held in the capital Tunis and other cities across the country to protest against a bill on women’s rights that can be interpreted several ways due to its vagueness and which is to be included in the new constitution.

The demonstration organisers, which included the ITUC’s affiliate in Tunisia, the UGTT, are opposed to the proposed text and are demanding a version that clearly lays down the principle of gender parity in the new constitution.

The UGTT also organised a general strike on 14 August in Sidi Bouzid, the birthplace of the Arab Spring, to protest against the arrests of demonstrators calling on the government to implement an effective employment and development policy, which it is not currently doing.

The UGTT was, furthermore, protesting against the jailing, some days prior, of four trade unionists in the town of Sfaz who have been subjected to acts of torture. According to the information received by the ITUC, the procedure followed to arrest these striking trade unionists was totally unlawful. According to the latest reports, they have now been released but are still facing charges.

"We cannot tolerate the arrest of trade unionists who are simply exercising a right that is recognised by their national legislation," said ITUC General Secretary Sharan Burrow. "We urge the Tunisian authorities to ensure that they do not infringe international labour conventions or any other instruments protecting human rights that Tunisia has ratified." The ITUC also expressed its support for all the women of Tunisia and their fight for equality.