Center for Human Rights and Humanitarian Law
May 8, 2014: The Special Rapporteur delivered a video address during a ceremony hosted by Tunisian President Moncef Marzouki in Tunis, where the president declared May 8 as the National Day Against Torture. During the ceremony, President Marzouki highlighted the State’s commitment to combating torture and ill-treatment and to fighting impunity and ensuring accountability for past abuses, and apologized to victims and their families on behalf of the Tunisian state. In his statement, the Special Rapporteur outlined Tunisia’s obligations with regards to combating and preventing torture and ill-treatment, and recognized some important progress made by Tunisia since his official visit three years ago, including the establishment of a National Preventive Mechanism under the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture. The Special Rapporteur’s video address is available here. You can also read a French-language news article about the event here.
October 31, 2013 – The APT has reported that the law establishing Tunisia’s National Preventive Mechanism (NPM) under the Optional Protocol to the UN Convention against Torture (OPCAT) has been published in the Official Gazette of Tunisia as organic law number 2013-43 of 23 October, 2013. The law establishing the “National Authority for the Prevention of Torture,” which was adopted by the Tunisian legislature earlier in October 2013, has been welcomed by civil society and the international community. The text of the law is now available in French and Arabic.
March 5, 2013 – During a panel event at the 19th session of the UN Human Rights Council, both representatives from the Tunisian interim Government and civil society were present. The UN Special Rapporteur Juan E. Mendez, who had recently concluded a mission to Tunisia, discussed his findings and recommendations. Although he recognized a positive shift of implementing human rights protections in the constitutional reforms, the Special Rapporteur expressed the urgency of investigating past and current allegations of torture and ill-treatment. He also warned that within the security apparatus, “torture is still very much integrated within the system as a political tool.”
November 23, 2011 – Special Rapporteur on Torture acknowledges the positive steps taken by the interim Government in denouncing torture; yet, he also urges that the authorities investigate all allegations of torture in order to make the rhetoric a reality. The past violations represent a policy of using torture to silence political opposition and, therefore, truth and justice are required to move forward to a commitment against torture.
May 23, 2011 – UN Special Rapporteur on Torture reported at least 300 people died and 700 were injured during the Tunisia uprising, from December 17, 2010 and January 14, 2011. In response to death toll figures, the Special Rapporteur called on the Tunisian government to ensure reparations for victims of torture and ill-treatment and ultimately accountability for past abuses.
May 23, 2011 – Special Rapporteur on Torture calls for a full investigation of all allegations of rape and torture carried out by security forces, including those acts committed after the fall of former president Ben Ali. Such recommendations follow reports that security forces used torture and violence against protesters during and after the revolution.
May 21, 2011 – During his visit to Tunisia, the Special Rapporteur urged the interim Government to carry out investigations into allegations of torture during the Ben Ali regime. He recognized that, contrary to international standards, approximately 66 people were detained during anti-government protests for up to twelve hours without access to their lawyers or families and detainees were subjected to interrogation methods including torture.
May 21, 2011 – While on a mission to Tunisia, the Special Rapporteur was informed of at least 300 deaths and 700 injured persons during the uprising, a figure that was revealed by a fact-finding Commission created to bring truth about the human rights abuses during the revolution.