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Tunisian Minister warns of alarming rates of violence against women, children

Image of Tunisian women preparing food [Magharebia/Flickr]
Image of Tunisian women preparing food [Magharebia/Flickr]

Tunisian Minister of Women, Family and Children Naziha Laabidi warned yesterday that violence against women and children in Tunisia has reached very alarming levels.

Laabidi made her remarks during a hearing before the rapporteur of the Committee of Rights, Freedoms and External Relations in the Tunisian parliament.

According to the minister, cases of spousal violence reached 38,000 cases between the period between 2011 and 2015, saying the figure is “very alarming”.

“There were 301 cases of sexual violence against children, males and females in 2015 compared to 262 cases in 2013,” the minister said, warning that cases of violence against children are increasing dramatically.

A field study on gender-based violence conducted by the Tunisian Centre for Research Studies, in collaboration with a United Nations body for gender equality and the empowerment of women, showed that as many as 53 per cent of women in Tunisia have been subjected to at least one form of violence between 2011 to 2015.

About 78 per cent of these women were subjected to psychological violence, 74.4 per cent were subjected to sexual violence and 41.2 per cent of women experienced physical violence.

The parliamentary hearing comes as discussions start on a draft law on the elimination of violence against women.

Minister Laabidi stressed on the importance of this law and described it as a comprehensive law that protects the community, whether in educational institutions or the street or other frameworks violence.

“Many countries and international bodies like the European Union and the Council of Europe and United Nations…are waiting for Tunisia to issue this law in accordance with the 2014 constitution which says that the state shall take all measures to ensure the elimination of violence against women,” she said.

“The law is the result of ten years of preparation and different social, economic and psychological readings,” she explained.

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