News / Europe

Feminist Activists Target Tunisian PM's Visit to Brussels

Tunisian Prime Minister Ali Larayedh (L) and European Council President Herman Van Rompuy participate in a press conference at the EU Council building in Brussels, June 25, 2013.Tunisian Prime Minister Ali Larayedh (L) and European Council President Herman Van Rompuy participate in a press conference at the EU Council building in Brussels, June 25, 2013.
x
Tunisian Prime Minister Ali Larayedh (L) and European Council President Herman Van Rompuy participate in a press conference at the EU Council building in Brussels, June 25, 2013.
Tunisian Prime Minister Ali Larayedh (L) and European Council President Herman Van Rompuy participate in a press conference at the EU Council building in Brussels, June 25, 2013.
Selah Hennessy
The head of the European Commission has called on Tunisia Prime Minister Ali Larayedh to reform the country's criminal laws to give equality to all. Feminist activists helped draw attention to the Tunisian situation during Larayedh’s visit to Brussels.

Topless female activists called out “Stop the Repression” as a Tunisian delegation drove from European Union headquarters.

Another two women climbed on top of the motorcade before being dragged off by security officials.

The activists are from the group Femen. Earlier this month, three members of the group were jailed in Tunisia for staging a protest in support of a detained Tunisian feminist.

European Commission head Jose Manuel Barroso spoke Tuesday at a joint press conference with Larayedh.

Barroso said the European Union is calling for a reform of laws inherited from the previous regime, particularly in the criminal code, to ensure freedom of speech for Tunisian men and women.

Tunisia’s justice system, he said, should be overhauled to ensure its independence and impartiality so the country can achieve a “full and deep democracy”.

Tunisia has long had some of the most liberal laws on women’s rights in the Arab world. But women’s freedoms have been under the spotlight since a revolution in 2011. Tunisia's government, led by the moderate Islamist Ennahda Party, has had to deny allegations that women’s rights are at risk.

Lisa Watanabe from the Center for Security Studies in Zurich, Switzerland, said no concrete steps have been taken to roll back women’s rights, but sometimes debate goes in that direction.  

“There was a proposition made by some members of parliament that belong to the major party within the coalition to include a clause in the constitution that they were complimentary, rather than equal to men, in terms of family life,” said Watanabe.

That clause, she said, was dropped because of a public outcry.

Regardless, she said the European Union has little influence over the inner workings of Tunisia’s justice system.

“Tunisia does have an association agreement with the European Union, so in terms of putting pressure on Tunisia, it may have some degree of influence in terms of demanding some conditionality to funding, but I do not think it can put a great deal of pressure on the government, to be frank,’ said Watanabe.

On Wednesday, an appeals hearing is set to take place in Tunisia for the European Femen activists. They all have been sentenced to four months in jail.

You May Like

Changing Under Pressure, IS ‘Potent’ as Ever

US intel officials describe Ramadi's fall as concerning, but say it isn't emblematic of larger effort to degrade IS capabilities More

Nigeria Fuel Shortage Shows Fragility of Africa’s Oil Giant

Although it is the largest oil producer in Africa, country has nearly ran out of fuel it needs to power its generators, cars and airplanes over the past week More

Arrested Football Officials Come Mainly From the Americas

US Justice Department alleges defendants participated in 24-year scheme to enrich themselves through corruption of international soccer More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Cari
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
George Putic
May 27, 2015 9:31 PM
Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video US Voters Seek Answers From Presidential Candidates on IS Gains

The growth of the Islamic State militant group in Iraq and Syria comes as the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign kicks off in the Midwest state of Iowa.   As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, voters want to know how the candidates would handle recent militant gains in the Middle East.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video US-led Coalition Gives Some Weapons to Iraqi Troops

In a video released Tuesday from the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, Iraqi forces and U.S.-led coalition troops survey a cache of weapons supplied to help Iraq liberate Mosul from Islamic State group. According to a statement provided with the video, the ministry and the U.S.-led coaltion troops have started ''supplying the 16th army division with medium and light weapons in preparation to liberate Mosul and nearby areas from Da'esh (Arabic acronym for Islamic State group).''
Video

Video Amnesty International: 'Overwhelming Evidence' of War Crimes in Ukraine

Human rights group Amnesty International says there is overwhelming evidence of ongoing war crimes in Ukraine, despite a tentative cease-fire with pro-Russian rebels. Researchers interviewed more than 30 prisoners from both sides of the conflict and all but one said they were tortured. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Washington Parade Honors Those Killed Serving in US Military

Every year, on the last Monday in the month of May, millions of Americans honor the memories of those killed while serving in the armed forces. Memorial Day is a tradition that dates back to the 19th Century. While many people celebrate the federal holiday with a barbecue and a day off from work, for those who’ve served in the military, it’s a special day to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Arash Arabasadi reports for VOA from Washington.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.

VOA Blogs