A new law adopted by Tunisian MPs threatens the freedom of associations and NGOs

Ten Tunisian parliamentarians have submitted a draft law on associations to the Tunisian Parliament on 10 October 2023. According to 8 rights groups, the proposal could violate the right to freedom of association and endanger civic space in Tunisia if adopted as it stands.

The bill would replace the Decree on Associations, which has been crucial for civil society since the 2011 revolution. If adopted, it would grant greater government control over independent groups.

The bill would introduce a system of disguised registration, giving the government extensive control over independent groups. It would impose prior authorisation requirements for international organisations, threatening their arbitrary registration. In addition, vague terms in the text could be used to arbitrarily restrict or close associations.

The law also confuses associations with trade unions without adequate safeguards for trade union rights. It requires prior approval from the Prime Minister’s office for any foreign funding, on pain of immediate suspension or dissolution.

Rights groups are calling on the Tunisian authorities to abandon this law and protect freedom of association in accordance with existing laws and international human rights standards.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *