The North African country of Tunisia has been accused of continuing to subject its LGBTI population to abuse, arrests, and torture, despite promising to make major improvements to LGBTI rights.
The criticism which was made by LGBTI rights group Human Rights Watch has called for the nation’s government to decriminalise consensual same-sex conduct, end forced anal examinations, recognise transgender people, and stop the widespread harassment of LGBTI organisations.
The group’s demands which have been supported by dozens of local organisations, under the umbrella of the Civil Coalition for Individual Freedoms in Tunisia, follow the Tunisian governments attempt to withdraw the legal registration of a leading Tunisian LGBTI rights organisation.
Neela Ghoshal, who is a senior LGBTI rights researcher at Human Rights Watch, says that that Tunisia had initially agreed to end forced anal exams and acknowledged that the nation had established a presidential commission that recommended the decriminalisation of same-sex conduct.
“But arrests and forced anal exams continue, while the state attempts to silence one of the groups vocally condemning these practices,” Ghoshal claims.
Currently, article 230 of the countries penal code punishes consensual same-sex relations with up to three years in prison.
Tunisian law also punishes any act the authorities perceive as contrary to “morality” and “decency,” something many LGBTI and human rights groups say the police use as an excuse to frequently arrest people solely on the basis of non-normative gender expression.
With crimes against people perceived to be homosexual or transgender continuing including discrimination that prevents LGBTI people from obtaining basic rights, such as health care, education, work, and to seek legal assistance, the coalition of LGBTI rights groups opes that their recommendations are listened to by the government.