Throughout Algeria, Morocco, and Tunisia—three of the countries that make up the Maghreb region of North Africa—women are particularly vulnerable to human rights abuses. This is due to deeply entrenched gender discrimination, lack of education, and a dearth of economic opportunities. Cultural norms and traditions, as well as high illiteracy rates also often prevent women from invoking their rights or reporting crimes committed against them.
Global Rights has worked in Tunisia since 2003 from its regional office in Rabat, Morocco, which opened in 2000. Over the past eight years as one of the few international organizations operating in Tunisia, Global Rights has established itself as a leader in the efforts to advance women’s rights by partnering with local NGOs in a long-term strategic process designed to strengthen their capacity to conduct grassroots-level awareness-raising and community mobilization on women’s rights and implement legal assistance programs for marginalized women in underserved communities. Our past and current programming in Tunisia includes the following projects:
- From 2003 to 2006, Global Rights conducted a human and legal rights education for women initiative in Tunisia. The program was designed to increase women’s knowledge and awareness of their rights under Tunisian and international law, develop individual and collective capacities to defend their rights, and mobilize collectively for change. Using our Making Human Rights Real curriculum, we trained partner representatives on the content, pedagogy, and mechanics of conducting community-based human rights education with a particular emphasis on effectively reaching illiterate women.
- Since 2003, Global Rights has worked with a network of lawyers across Tunisia to promote the use of ratified international human rights conventions as the basis for women’s rights in public interest litigation brought in the domestic courts. Our work includes action research on the application of international law by the judiciary and training workshops with local lawyers on using international standards in their legal arguments. It culminated in 2006 with the publication of an Arabic-language guide elaborated in collaboration with our partner lawyers to serve as a practical tool for lawyers conducting strategic litigation.
- In 2007 and 2008, Global Rights Global Rights worked in Tunisia as part of its Maghreb regional initiative to promote women’s legal and human rights through the incorporation of rights-protective clauses in marriage contracts. Our pioneering program to promote the use of marriage contracts—which are negotiated agreements between two consenting parties that create legally enforceable obligations—with rights-protective clauses encompasses not just the participatory drafting and dissemination of a model marriage contract and other tools to women, lawyers, and judges, but also significant regional network-building among local NGOs and lawyers and advocacy that challenges national institutions to address the rights of women within the family.
- Starting in 2009 in response to partner requests and again building on materials and methodologies field tested in Morocco, Global Rights has provided training and technical assistance to partners in Tunisia to help them establish effective and sustainable paralegal services programs that aim to increase women’s access to justice. We also developed a 120-page Tunisia-specific Arabic-language guide to help NGOs implement paralegal services programs.
Global Rights has tailored all of its project activities and tools to meet the needs of women, particularly the illiterate and semi-literate, in underserved areas across Tunisia. Our work has also given us considerable experience promoting women’s rights at the intersection of Islamic-based precepts and secular statutory law.
Legal Empowerment of Unwed Mothers: Experiences of Moroccan NGOs (2010)
Excerpt from IDLO's book, Legal Empowerment: Practitioners' Perspectives (2010)
لنجعل حقوق الإنسان حقيقة: برنامج للتربية على الحقوق الإنسانية و القانونية للنساء في تونس Arabic (2006)
The Making Human Rights Real: A Human Rights Education Program for Women in Tunisia Facilitator's Manual is currently only available as a combined Arabic and French text. For an English summary of the manuals for Algeria and Tunisia, please click here.
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*Photo by Association Amal pour la femme et le développement
NEWS & EVENTS
Photo of the Week: Sousse, Tunisia
Global Rights' Maghreb Regional Legal Officer, Saida Kouzzi, is quoted in TIME article Silent No More: The Women of the Arab Revolutions. Click here to read the article! »
The Maghreb program publishes a practical guide on "Ensuring Access to Justice for Women through Court Accompaniment Programs" for Tunisia (April 2010)
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