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The Carter Center Welcomes Human Rights Protections in Tunisia's New Constitution; Calls for Immediate Steps to Implement

CONTACT: Tunis, Sara Abbas +216 26 986 205,
Atlanta, Deborah Hakes +1 404 420 5124,

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The Carter Center released today a statement tracing the evolution of key issues in the text of Tunisia's constitution and highlighting elements, including measures to protect citizens from discrimination, provide security of tenure for judges, and safeguard fundamental freedoms during a state of emergency, which should be strengthened. Tunisian authorities should take legislative action to address these concerns.

"Tunisia's new constitution lays a solid foundation for rule of law and the protection of human rights," said former U.S. President Jimmy Carter. "What is critical now is to conduct a thorough revision of the legal framework to bring it into alignment with the constitution and ensure the full realization of the rights enshrined in the text.  In addition, a provisional commission should be established in time to review the constitutionality of draft laws, especially the electoral legislation currently under discussion."

The Carter Center has monitored Tunisia's constitution-making process since February 2012, when the National Constituent Assembly's six constitutional commissions first began their work. Throughout the process, the Center assessed the various drafts against the country's international obligations regarding political and civil rights. This statement focuses on the content of the adopted constitution as well as on the adoption phase. Key recommendations from the statement are below, and the full statement is available at and at

In the spirit of goodwill and support for Tunisia's continued democratic transition, The Carter Center offers the following recommendations:


  • Review and reform Tunisia's existing legal framework to ensure that domestic law and regulations reflect and respect the country's international commitments on human rights and the rights enshrined in the new constitution.
  • Incorporate into organic laws guarantees of the principle of the equality of the vote and prohibitions of discrimination on the grounds of race, color, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth, and other status. Ensure that these rights apply to all people in Tunisia, citizens and foreigners alike, in accordance with international law.
  • Encourage the State to fight not only violence against women but all kinds of discrimination against women. Adopt concrete measures to protect women's rights, such as mechanisms to advance gender parity in nomination lists.
  • Specify in relevant legislation Tunisia's obligation to adopt specific mechanisms to guarantee the progressive realization of economic, social, and cultural rights to the maximum of the country's available resources.


  • Judges should interpret the law, including the constitution, to favor the enforcement of a right or fundamental freedom, and to take into account the interpretation of human rights treaties, including from courts and commissions, as a minimum standard.
  • Encourage judges and legislators to protect freedom of religion or belief, including the freedom to adopt, change, or renounce a religion or belief, and to ensure that any limitations are consistent with the general limitation clause in the constitution.
  • In the event that a state of emergency is declared, ensure that any restrictions to rights and freedoms are specific, necessary, proportionate, and subject to judicial review, and that they will expire after a defined period of time. Furthermore, specify that rights considered absolute in international law remain protected and ban their restriction under emergency powers.


  • Incorporate provisions into the legal framework to ensure the independence of the judiciary in regard to appointment, promotion, and discipline, including the security of tenure. The removal of judges should be restricted to cases of serious misconduct, following a fair trial, and, in accordance with the constitution, by reasoned decision of the High Judicial Council, after its establishment.
  • Establish a provisional commission promptly to review the constitutionality of draft laws so as to include the draft electoral legislation currently under debate. The commission should have the authority and resources necessary to carry out its duties independently and effectively.
  • Consider giving the provisional commission the right to review the Rules of Procedure of the future Assembly of the People's Representatives.
  • As was done in the constitution adoption process, facilitate civil society and media access to commission and plenary discussions of the elections law, as well as all future laws debated by the National Constituent Assembly.
  • Intensify outreach campaigns to educate the public about the constitution.

Background: Following its observation of National Constituent Assembly elections in October 2011, The Carter Center maintained a presence in Tunisia to monitor and assess the constitution-making process and preparations for the next electoral cycle. The Center has met regularly with a broad range of political and civic stakeholders, attending assembly sessions and following public debates and civil society workshops related to the process. The Center assessed the evolution of the constitutional drafts against Tunisia's international obligations to uphold fundamental political and civic freedoms, and commented on the inclusiveness of the process and the extent to which it upholds principles of transparency, and participation of citizens in the public affairs of their country.

The Center assessed the evolution of the constitutional drafts against Tunisia's international obligations to uphold fundamental political and civic freedoms, and commented on the inclusiveness of the process and the extent to which it upholds principles of transparency, and participation of citizens in the public affairs of their country.


"Waging Peace. Fighting Disease. Building Hope."
A not-for-profit, nongovernmental organization, The Carter Center has helped to improve life for people in 80 countries by resolving conflicts; advancing democracy, human rights, and economic opportunity; preventing diseases; and improving mental health care. The Carter Center was founded in 1982 by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and former First Lady Rosalynn Carter, in partnership with Emory University, to advance peace and health worldwide.

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Le Centre Carter félicite l'ANC pour la consécration des droits humains dans la Constitution et plaide pour leur mise en oeuvre immediate

يرحب مركز كارتر بتكريش حقوق الانضان في انذصتور انتونضي انجذيذويذعو لاتخار خطواث فوريت في اتجاه ضمان انفارها

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