A report authored by a group of civil society groups has been submitted to the United Nations denouncing discrimination against the gay community in Tunisia.
Five of Tunisia’s gay rights associations, Shams, Damj, Kelmty, Chouf and Mawjoudin worked on the report with the support of the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network – EuroMed Rights was submitted to the UN’s Human Rights Council yesterday.
The report highlights the main trends in what the groups see as the violations of the rights of LGBTQI, (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual, queer/questioning and intersex) in Tunisia since the revolution. This report is part of Tunisia’s LGBTQI community’s fight for civic freedoms, such as living openly as couples and being able to state their preferred gender on official documents without the risk of discrimination or violence.
Speaking to Tunisia Live, spokesperson of the LGBTI pressure group, Shams, Belhedi Bouhdid said that “the report revolves around preserving our rights and freedoms and also abolishing Article 230 of the Penal Code” which states that “Sodomy … shall be punished by imprisonment for three years,”. Article 230 condemns male and female homosexuality. Conviction carries a sentence of up to three years of imprisonment. Bouhdid stated that the role of Shams “is to document cases of discrimination and violence suffered by Tunisian LGBTQI comunity.”
In the report, the gay rights groups call on the government to, “Repeal immediately Article 230 of the penal code; prohibit the practice of anal tests as evidence of homosexual practices; revise the penal code and code of criminal procedures… fight against all forms of stigma and discrimination towards the LGBTQI community and punish incitement to hatred and violence.”
The report is supported by thirteen other civil society organisations, such as Tunisian Association of Democratic Women (ATFD) and the Committee for the Respect of Liberties and Human Rights in Tunisia (CRLDHT).
Zaineb is a journalist in the Tunisia Live newsroom. She speaks Arabic, French and English.