Tunisia: 'Landmark' new law protects Tunisian women from rape, domestic violence

Tunis, Tunisia (PANA) - A new law passed on Thursday in Tunisia to crack down on violence against women has been hailed as a “landmark” of progress by human rights groups.

It also abolishes a controversial clause that allowed rapists to escape punishment if they then marry their victims, according to a story on the Independent Online website.

The North African country currently has one of the highest rates of domestic violence in the world with research showing nearly half of all women is a victim at some point in their life, the newspaper reported.

With the new law, Tunisia becomes the first North African state to criminalize domestic violence.

Tunisian women’s rights organisations have campaigned for a domestic violence law for decades and this Law on Eliminating Violence against Women is the first piece of legislation ever put through by the country's government which recognises domestic abuse as a crime.

More than 30 percent of parliamentarians in Tunisia are women - the highest rate of female representation in any Arab country.

The legislation allows women to seek protection from acts of violence committed by their husbands and other relatives and also includes provisions on harassment in public spaces and economic discrimination.

“It's a very moving moment and we are proud in Tunisia to have been able to gather around a historic project,” said Women's Minister Naziha Laabidi.

The new law, due to come into force next year and in line with UN guidelines, makes Tunisia the first North African state to criminalize domestic violence. It  allows for the prosecution of abusers and psychological and practical assistance for victims of domestic violence.
-0- PANA VAO 28July2017

28 july 2017 16:02:23

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