Woman iz associate to man, can haz some rites

Uh oh.

Tunisia is working on a new constitution. That is, Tunisia’s government is. Tunisia’s government is Islamist.

Tunisian politicians have provoked outrage by debating draft laws that would impose prison sentences for vaguely defined acts of blasphemy and approving wording in the country’s new constitution that says women are “complementary” to men.

The panel approved an article to the new constitution under the principle that a woman is a “complement with the man in the family and an associate to the man in the development of the country”, according to Ms Mabrouk’s August 1 Facebook post.

Another version.

The newly written constitutional clause protecting women’s rights in the Tunisian constitution has angered feminists and opposition politicians with wording that calls women the “associate” of man.

The article – article 27 of the constitution – states that women’s rights should be protected “under the principal of complementarity at the heart of the family and as man’s associate in the development of the country,” according to versions of the text, translated from Arabic to French, which have circulated on the Internet and in Tunisian media.

It was approved by a vote of 12 to 8 by the Commission of Rights and Liberties, with 9 of those voting for the clause coming from Tunisia’s ruling Islamist party, Ennahdha.

The article was quickly and publicly condemned by Salma Mabrouk, a member of the center-left Ettakatol party who voted against the version of the clause passed by the committee. In a statement on her official Facebook page that quickly spread throughout the activist and feminist communities, she stated, “The majority version completely annuls the concept of equality of the sexes.”

This is not good.


  1. says

    This is why democracy must be accompanied with a firm commitment to human rights if it is to work.

    I agree with you, but I’ll make a pedantic point:

    There are Islamic versions of human rights: “Universal Islamic Declaration of Human Rights” (1981) and “Cairo Declaration on Human Rights in Islam” (1990). You can find both of them, with my commentaries, by getting to my website via my blog (use the link in my name above).

    They are really Sharia (law) dressed up to look like human rights. It goes without saying that they don’t prescribe equality for women! The Cairo Declaration was adopted by the Organisation of the Islam Conference in 2000.

    I try to remember to use the term “Universal Human Rights” to refer to the (milestone) UN 1948 Declaration, although in Europe we have the European Convention (based on the UN Declaration) and an overloaded court to back it up. (Interestingly, Turkey has ratified the European version but is also a member of OIC. I don’t know how they reconcile the 2 versions).

  2. Carmichael says

    See, Ennahdha really are moderate Islamists, just as much of the press has been telling us. They have women’s rights in the constitution and everything.
    Not good, but not surprising.

  3. mirax says

    En-nahdha’s biggest cheerleader in the west, the Al-Guardian, must be especially chuffed. It certainly feted and promoted the Ghannoushis.

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