Victory for human rights in Tunisia

The Tunis Court of Appeals today upheld a lower court decision that allowed the LGBT rights group Shams to keep its official recognition as a legitimate organization and to continue its work.

From the African Human Rights Media Network

Logo of Shams
Logo of Shams reported (translated here from the original French):

The Tunis Court of Appeal confirmed today, Monday, May 20, 2019, the court decision pronounced on February 23, 2016, allowing the association Shams for the Defense of the Rights of Homosexuals to operate legally.

In February, the State Litigation Officer appealed this decision, declaring that “the activities of this association are contrary to the principles of Muslim society and that Islam prohibits these practices, which are also prohibited by Article 230 of the Penal Code.”

Article 230 prohibits sodomy and exposes the person who practices it to a sentence ranging from 3 months to 3 years in prison.

Last week, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights sent a letter to the Tunisian government, expressing concern over the attempted closure of the Shams association, saying that this undermines the universal values ​​of the people. human rights and is contrary to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), ratified by Tunisia on 18 March 1969.This morning, the appeal court dismissed the appeal by the government, which certainly had other things to do than try to close a human rights organization, and upheld the decision of the lower court of Tunis.

Shams will therefore continue its activities legally and will continue to defend the rights of homosexuals and the LGBTQ community in Tunisia, which the government, while claiming to be progressive, still hesitates to defend.

Written by Colin Stewart

Colin Stewart is a 45-year journalism veteran living in Southern California. After his retirement from paid newspaper work in 2011, he launched Erasing 76 Crimes and helped with the Spirit of 76 campaign that assembled a multi-national team of 26 LGBTI rights activists to advocate for change during the International AIDS Conference in Washington, D.C., in July 2012. He is the president of the St. Paul’s Foundation for International Reconciliation, which supports LGBTQ+ rights advocacy journalism, including the Erasing 76 Crimes news site and the African Human Rights Media Network. Contact him via Twitter @76crimes or by email at Mailing address: 21 Marseille, Laguna Niguel CA 92677 USA.

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