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

IS Militants Release 49 Turkish Hostages

Turkey's state-run Anadolu news agency reports that no ransom was paid and no conditions accepted for the hostages' release; few details of the release are known More

Photogallery IS Attacks Send Thousands of Syrian Kurds Fleeing to Turkey

Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says more than 300 Kurdish fighters crossed into Syria from Turkey to defend a Kurdish area from attack by the Islamic militants More

Video Sierra Leone's Ebola Lockdown Continues

Thousands of health workers are going door to door in the West African country of 6 million, informing people of how to avoid Ebola, handing out soap 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.
Fears Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’i
X
Jeff Seldin
September 20, 2014 10:28 PM
Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Fears Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’

Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Obama Goes to UN With Islamic State, Ebola on Agenda

President Obama goes to the United Nations General Assembly to rally nations to support a coalition against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria. He also will look for nations to back his plan to fight the Ebola virus in West Africa. As VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports, Obama’s efforts reflect new moves by the U.S. administration to take a leading role in addressing world crises.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid