The Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Women in Africa (the Special Rapporteur), Commissioner Soyata Maiga, welcomes the sentences passed on 31 March 2014 by the Tunis Court of First Instance against three police officers, two of whom were prosecuted for the rape of a young girl in the night of 3 – 4 September 2012 in Tunis, Tunisia.
While regretting the delay in the proceedings, the Special Rapporteur welcomes the verdict which bears testimony to the commitment of the Government of Tunisia to ensure greater protection for victims of sexual violence and abuse and to defend and protect the rights of women in Tunisia.
The Special Rapporteur commends the efforts of the Tunisian authorities to build a society which respects human rights and democracy, in accordance with the provisions of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and other relevant international human rights instruments duly ratified by Tunisia.
The Special Rapporteur calls on the Government of Tunisia to strengthen its efforts to put an end to impunity, regarding sexual violence and other forms of gender-based violence, including by ensuring that the perpetrators and accomplices of such acts are brought before the competent courts within a reasonable period of time, and ensuring the right to reparation of victims through adequate compensation.
The Special Rapporteur further encourages the Government of the Tunisian Republic to take the necessary and urgent measures to start the ratification of the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa (the Maputo Protocol) towards domesticating the relevant provisions of this legal instrument aimed at promoting and protecting the rights of women and girls.
The Special Rapporteur expresses her constant availability and commitment to work with the Government of Tunisia, government stakeholders, women’s organisations and women’s rights NGOs in Tunisia.
Banjul, 7 April 2014