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HRW: Tunisia new draft constitution lacks mechanisms to protect rights

July 15, 2022 at 11:36 am

Tunisian President Kais Saied in Tunis, Tunisia on 21 July 2022 [Yassine Gaidi/Anadolu Agency]

Human Rights Watch (HRW) warned yesterday that the draft constitution proposed by Tunisian President Kais Saied gives him broader powers than the current charter, which provides for a hybrid presidential-parliamentary system.

“The draft constitution proposed by Tunisian President Kais Saied enumerates many rights but eviscerates the checks and balances needed to protect them,” HRW said on its website. Saied suspended much of the current constitution in September 2021, two months after he seized executive powers, suspended parliament and lifted parliamentary immunity.

“It is not enough for a constitution to list human rights,” said Eric Goldstein, deputy Middle East and North Africa director at Human Rights Watch.

“A constitution should create institutions and mechanisms to protect rights from being trampled, and that is what is dangerously missing in Saied’s draft constitution for Tunisia,” he added.

Saied unveiled the text of the draft constitution on 30 June 2022 and urged Tunisians to approve it in a national referendum scheduled for 25 July. Numerous political parties have opposed the draft and called on citizens not to vote in favour of it.

READ: 5 Tunisia parties: Amending draft constitution disregards laws