TUNIS – Thousands of conservative Tunisians took on Saturday to the streets to protest a proposal for a series of constitutional amendments in the areas of gender equality and human rights.
The non-governmental National Coordination for the Defense of the Qur’an, the Constitution and Equitable Development organized the demonstration against the report issued by the Individual Freedoms and Equality Committee (COLIBE).
The protesters accused the committee, created by presidential initiative in August 2017, of acting contrary to the teaching of Islam and traditional values.
Bochra Belhaj Hmida, COLIBE’s president, has regularly denounced the “demonization” of the report on the part of the most conservative sectors of the North African country, adding that committee members have received death threats.
The report – prepared in accordance with international human rights standards, according to COLIBE – includes recommendations for changes to the 2014 Tunisian Constitution.
The 235-page document, accessible for free on the committee’s official Web site, was presented on June 12 and proposes, among other things, gender equality in inheritance rights, decriminalization of homosexuality and abolition of the death penalty.
Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi is expected to unveil the content of a liberties and equality bill on Monday, during a speech marking National Women’s Day.
Human rights activists and organizations, meanwhile, have called for a demonstration on Monday to express support for COLIBE.