Target: Tunisia’s National Constituent Assembly
Goal: Applaud new anti-torture committee
Recently, the Tunisian government announced the creation of the National Authority for the Prevention of Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. The new organization will consist of 16 inspectors who will investigate the many allegations of human rights abuses by authorities across the country. They will be making recommendations for measures that will eradicate torture and prisoner mistreatment.
Tunisia has a past record of restrictions on civil liberties such as freedom of speech, press and association. The government has been known for journalist intimidation and arbitrary arrests of those that criticize the leadership. Prison conditions are poor and many prisoners report torture and mistreatment. Trials in the country have been known to be swayed by pressure from officials, and can be prolonged for no apparent reason. Defendants have been tried without legal counsel and evidence has been withheld when an attorney has been allowed.
Members of the National Authority for the Prevention of Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment will include both men and women who are experts on child justice, medicine, administration of justice, and human rights. They will have access to any prison in the country and its detainee records. The committee will be allowed to privately speak to prisoners, as well as any others who may have information on their cases.
The authority will submit recommendations regarding improvements on prison conditions and detainee treatment. They will submit observations and proposals to lawmakers to create or improve existing human rights legislation.
Tunisia is the first Middle Eastern country to adopt an independent domestic committee to prevent torture and mistreatment in detention centers. Your signature will commend the Tunisian government’s efforts to improve prison standards and encourage them to keep moving in this compassionate direction.
Dear Tunisia’s National Constituent Assembly,
Recently, the National Authority for the Prevention of Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment was created to inspect detainment facilities and ensure proper treatment and conditions within. The committee will have access to private interviews with prisoners and be able to make recommendations for improvement when necessary. The authority will consult with the government to recommend legislation to further protect the rights of detainees.
This new authority is a big step in ending human rights violations in Tunisian prisons. It will be helpful in ensuring that officials refrain from overusing their authority to exploit detainees, and that conditions are improved where necessary. I applaud the creation of the National Authority for the Prevention of Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment and ask that you keep moving with forward momentum on improving human rights everywhere in Tunisia.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Douglas606 via Creative Commons