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Amnesty launches campaign to end violence against women in Tunisia

Amnesty International yesterday launched an awareness campaign aimed at ending violence against women in Tunisia.

Country director Lotfi Azzouz said at a press conference that the campaign aims to collect signatures for a petition to be addressed to the local authorities to review local laws and legislations that do not punish violence against women in all its forms.

Azzouz said the campaign also includes capacity building workshops for human rights activists to develop their communication capacities with victims of violence.

The organisation presented a report entitled “Assaulted and accused: Sexual and gender-based violence in Tunisia” published on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women that highlights how, nearly five years since Tunisia’s uprising, the leading Arab nation for gender equality is still failing to protect women who experience violence.

“This report exposes Tunisia’s chilling subversion of the notion of crime and punishment that includes a combination of archaic laws, ineffective policing and ingrained gender stereotypes make it difficult for women to seek justice for crimes committed against them and sometimes they are even prosecuted as criminals,” Saeid Boumedouha, deputy director of Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Programme said in the report.

The report presented testimonies collected in 2014 by women who were subjected to sexual violence and raped by their husbands in a number of governorates.

The women said they were afraid to report the incidents to the authorities fearful of the police.

The report explained: “Within the Arab world Tunisia has led the way on breaking taboos and advancing women’s rights. Yet despite positive reforms over the years, in Tunisia today, rapists and kidnappers of teenage women can still get off scot-free if they marry their victim. Women who report marital rape or family violence are shamed into withdrawing their complaints.”

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