Ian Duncan MEP writes about meeting brave LGBT activists from Tunisia – and how the country can overcome its colonial past.
The democratic uprisings that we know today as the Arab Spring, began in Tunisia. In short order the protests of the Jasmine Revolution had spread through much of North Africa and the Middle East. Of the states engulfed in democratic uprisings, it is only Tunisia which has blossomed into a stable, functioning democracy.
An extraordinary journey from autocracy to democracy in only five short years. Tunisia has a new constitution. Free and fair elections. As further proof, last year the ‘Tunisian National Dialogue Quartet’ was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for their contribution to the building of a ‘pluralistic democracy.’
However, not all have shared in this flourishing of democratic rights.
When I visited Tunisia in November last year, I met with minority rights campaigner Yamina Thabet. In a quiet corner of my hotel Ms Thabet explained that the democratic revolution had not yet trickled down to Tunisia’s gay community: ‘Even though Tunisia is praised as the region’s most progressive country, human rights violations continue. Presumed homosexuals are still jailed, with evidence gathered in ways which violate the constitutional right to privacy.’ Read more via PinkNews