Our objective is to submit draft law on combating racial discrimination to cabinet meeting before December 26 (Minister) | Tunisia News Gazette

Our objective is to submit draft law on combating racial discrimination to cabinet meeting before December 26 (Minister)

Minister of Relations with Constitutional Authorities, Civil Society and Human Rights, Mehdi Ben Gharbia said Monday that his goal is to present the draft law on combating racial discrimination to the cabinet meeting before December 26, 2017.

We hope that this text will be adopted by the House of Peoples’ Representatives (HPR) before March 21, 2018, on the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, he added, during a national consultation workshop with civil society on this bill, held in Tunis.

In response to criticism by some MPs and representatives of civil society over the delay in developing this law, the minister said that this bill was scheduled since the aggression, in September 2016, in the city centre, of young Tunisian Sabrine Ngoy, victim of discrimination based on the skin colour.

“Our government was the first and only one who had the audacity to recognise the existence of racism in Tunisia,” he emphaised.

According to him, this bill which contains 11 articles intervenes to fill a legal gap. It aims to combat all forms of racial discrimination and to put in place all the necessary and device measures to prevent and criminalise this act.

According to this text, he said, the State pledges to put in place public policies and national strategies capable of combating all forms of racial discrimination in all sectors and to propose awareness and training programmes.

“It also provides all the necessary psychological and social care for the victims,” he said, adding that a study on minorities in Tunisia is currently under way carried out by his department in collaboration with the Danish Institute for Human Rights.

Ennahdha MP Jamila Ksiksi said that if this bill has been stalled for 17 months it is because, according to her, the government has not given it the necessary legislative priority.

“We must now shed light on all forms of racial discrimination,” she said, adding that the bill, as it stands, does not protect the rights of victims who suffered a moral damage.

In this regard, she called for the need to reformulate this law so that it rests on a comprehensive approach that goes from prevention to criminal prosecution and the protection and assistance of victims, as in the case of organic law on combating violence against women.

For Ghayda Thabeut, communication officer at the Tunisian Minority Support Association, an association that contributed to the drafting of this bill, it is necessary to provide in this text the establishment of a structure whose mission will be to monitor and comply with its provisions.

She also emphasised the need to harmonise the draft law with the Penal Code and to change and include the principles of tolerance and difference in textbooks.

Prime Minister Youssef Chahed called, on December 26, 2016, on the occasion of the National Day Against Racial Discrimination, parliament to examine “in urgency” a bill penalising racism. This call came after a demonstration by African students denouncing several cases of assaults based on the colour of the skin.

Source: TAP News Agency

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