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Arab Research & Advocacy Bureau would like to congratulate Tunisia on its progressive step towards gender equality. Arab Bureau stands in support of President Beji Caed Essibsi constitutional recommendation made during his speech on the National Women’s Day (Sunday, August 13, 2017).
The recommendation grants women equality to men in all aspects under the law. It includes changes to publication NO. 73 that bans women in Tunisia from marrying non-Muslim men. Men, on the other hand, were legally provided such rights. In his speech, President Essibsi emphasised the 6th chapter of the Tunisian constitution that grants freedom of belief and conscience to all citizens. He further elaborated that women should also have equal rights to inheritance.
Arab Research & Advocacy Bureau bases its roots on the values of conscience, morality and tolerance. We condemn intolerance in all its forms and advocate for anti-discrimination, equality and progress. Arab Bureau also supports the liberty and freedom of individuals for as long as it does not cause direct harm to others. Based on these values, we find ourselves in support of the Tunisian President’s recommendations.
We believe that our position neither opposes nor offends religion in any form. Instead, we believe in the importance of dialogue, respect and tolerance. For all the above reasons, we believe that women should be granted all their natural rights as human beings.
As a nation-state, Tunisia has been at the forefront of gender equality in the Arab world. It presumed leadership in women’s rights from civil and legal standpoints. Tunisian women currently enjoy more equality and rights under the law than any other Arab state. The series of laws that pertain to women, family and personal matters in most Arab nations are misogynist in nature. In Tunisia, the Code of Personal Status (CPS), established by Prime Minister and later President Habib Bourgiba, remain one of his greatest deeds that secured many rights of Tunisian women.
The Code of Personal Status (CPS) was enacted on August 13, 1956 and implemented on January 1, 1957. The promulgation of the code became an annual national holiday in Tunisia under the name “Women’s Day” and gave women powers and established their role and place in society. It abolished polygamy, created a judicial procedure for divorce, and established that marriage is only to be performed with mutual agreement of both parties.
In 1993, the code was amended and women were provided the right to represent their children in judicial procedures and to transfer their nationality and patrimony to children to the same extent as husbands.
Although the Tunisian culture is still patriarchal in many areas, especially rural ones, the Tunisian state assures that women have near to full rights under the law. This is a great step towards equality, anti-discrimination and progress: Arab Research & Advocacy Bureau’s foundational values.