10 October 2018 Tunisia, first Arab country to criminalize racism

Tunisian Parliament has approved a law against racial discrimination, and thus, has become the second African country, after South Africa, and the first Arab one, to adopt such a law. The law, No. 11/2018, aims at “the elimination of all forms of racial discrimination and its manifestations, in order to preserve human dignity and achieve equality between individuals regarding the enjoyment of rights and the fulfilment of duties”. It penalises incitation to violence, hatred, discrimination and racism, dissemination of ideas based on racial discrimination, or the “formation, belonging or participation in a group or organisation that explicitly and repeatedly supports racial discrimination, with imprisonment from one to three years and a fine of 1,000 to 3,000 Tunisian dinars (1,000 Euros).” The adoption of this law, which comes after long-lasting civil society demands, represents a new milestone in the consolidation of the Tunisian transition, in compliance with its Constitution, and in the consolidation of a more tolerant and inclusive society. President of the Tunisian Forum for Economic and Social Rights, Masoud Romdhani stated: “There is now approval of the penalisation, but respect must also be disseminated through education.” Jamila Ksiksi, deputy of the Islamist Ennahda party, and the only representative of the black minority in Parliament, stated: “Although it is improvable, the law incorporates the main demands of civil society, and is comparable to international standards”. About 15% of Tunisians are black, even though no real data exists, most of them from the South of the country.