Tunisia's Constituent Assembly ratified on Thursday an article stipulating that all male and female citizens have the same rights and duties and are equal before the law without discrimination.
The assembly's general rapporteur, Khader Habib, explained that the new article of the draft Tunisian Constitution guarantees equality between men and women and stipulates that any political party that plans to run for elections should include women candidates as at least half of its electoral list.
Article 45 of the constitution, which addresses women's rights and responsibilities, had sparked disagreement between the assembly's members. The democratic bloc of the opposition and a few members of the Islamist Ennahda Party fought to introduce the principle of "gender parity" into the constitution; however, the majority of the members of the ruling party Ennahda and several others argued that the article could be introduced to other laws, but not to the constitution.
Nevertheless, on Thursday, the assembly ratified four articles of the draft constitution, which include:
Article 45: "The state is committed to the protection of acquired rights for women and works to support and develop her. The state shall endeavour to achieve the principle of parity between men and women in elected councils. The state shall take measures to ensure the elimination of violence against women."
Article 46: "The parents are responsible to guarantee the child's rights and the state has to ensure dignity, healthcare and education. The state will provide all kinds of protection for all children without discrimination and in accordance with the best interests of the child."
Article 47: "The state shall protect people with disabilities from all discrimination. Every citizen with a disability depending on the nature of his/her disability has the right to use all the measures to ensure a full integration in society, and the state is to take all necessary measures to achieve this."
Article 48: "The law defines regulations relating to the rights and freedoms guaranteed by this Constitution and practicing them in a manner that does not compromise their essence. These regulations are imposed when the civil state of democracy needs to and in order to protect the rights of others, or for the requirements of public security or national defence, or public health, or morals, and with respect for proportionality between these controls and its obligations… and to provide protection for the judicial bodies and the rights and freedoms… any amendment shall not undermine the gains of human rights and freedoms guaranteed in the Constitution."