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Carter Center Urges Tunisia's Constituent Assembly to Protect Political Rights

Contact: In Atlanta, Deborah Hakes 1 404-420-5124; In Tunis, Marion Volkmann +216 50 666 649 or Jonathan Stonestreet +216 21 768 208

Read the full report (PDF) >

As Tunisia's National Constituent Assembly prepares to debate the draft Political Immunization of the Revolution Law, The Carter Center urges assembly members to reconsider several provisions, especially proposed restrictions on fundamental political rights.

The right to be elected and the right to association are protected under international law, and the right of the people to freely choose their representatives is a cornerstone of democracy. Measures to restrict these rights should be narrowly defined to abide by Tunisia's international obligations to use the least restrictive means to accomplish the law's intended goal. The assembly should consider whether the restrictions in the draft law are reasonable, proportional, and necessary in a democratic society.

The Carter Center also expresses concern that the Instance Supérieure Indépendante pour les Elections(ISIE) would be required to compile the list of excluded persons, which could impact negatively public confidence in the work of the election management body and perceptions of its impartiality and independence.

Finally, the Center recommends that the assembly amend the appeals mechanism to ensure the protection of fundamental rights, including by having a court make the final determination regarding the restriction of any individual's political rights.

Prior to the 2011 National Constituent Assembly elections, thousands were prohibited from standing as candidates due to their alleged association with the previous regime. In its final report (PDF) on those elections, The Carter Center recommended that the assembly should carefully consider lifting such a ban for future elections. The Center also recommended that if such measures were to be adopted in the future, a more transparent mechanism for determining which individuals should be excluded from candidacy should be developed using the least restrictive means to accomplish the intended goal.

While the decision of whether to enact a political exclusion law is obviously a matter for Tunisians to decide, The Carter Center notes that there are international obligations regarding the right to be elected and the right to take part in the public affairs of one's country that are relevant to Tunisia and that should be taken into account while considering the draft law. These include the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights. Given its mandate of election observation, the Center offers its comments to assist Tunisian institutions in ensuring that any limits on electoral rights are consistent with international obligations.

Following its observation of the October 2011 National Constituent Assembly elections, The Carter Center is monitoring the constitution drafting process and developments related to the establishment of institutional and legal frameworks for subsequent elections. The Center assesses these processes against Tunisia's national laws and international treaty obligations. Read the full report (English, PDF) >


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A not-for-profit, nongovernmental organization, The Carter Center has helped to improve life for people in more than 70 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 appelle l'Assemblée Constituante à protéger les droits politiques

مركز كارتر یحث المجلس الوطني التأسيسي على حمایة الحقوق السياسية

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