Tunisian Minority Rights Activist Yamina Thabet Criticizes Tunisian Constitution, Education System for Ignoring Jews and Christians, Says Homosexuals Are Imprisoned, Tortured
During a February 15, 2019 show on BBC Arabic (U.K.), Yamina Thabet, the head of the Tunisian Association for Support of Minorities, criticized Tunisian education curricula for omitting mentions of Tunisian Christianity or Jewry and said that it is because the Tunisian constitution defines Tunisian identity as Muslim. She also said that constitutionally-guaranteed rights to privacy are violated in order to verify people's sexual orientation, explaining that homosexuals are imprisoned for three years. To see more from Yamina Thabet, see MEMRI TV Clips Nos. 3998 and 5221.
Yamina Thabet: When the Constitution of the Second Tunisian Republic was written in 2014, we demanded to emphasize "Tunisian civilization," rather than "Arab Muslim civilization." There are even worse things in the Tunisian constitution. Article 38 [sic] says that the Tunisian state "shall work to consolidate" the Arab-Muslim identity in education. But I examined the curricula in public schools, and I can assure you that there is no mention of Tunisian's Christians, or of the Jews who fought for our independence. Let me remind you and inform our viewers that three Catholic popes came from Tunisia. How come today's generation in Tunisia is denied this information? How come a Tunisian who converts to Christianity today is considered an apostate or a traitor? The reason is that the constitution defines Tunisian identity as Muslim. Now let's talk about sexual minorities. This is very important. The Constitution of the Second Tunisian Republic guarantees the right to privacy, the right to human dignity and the confidentiality of correspondence. But today, the confidentiality of correspondence is violated, in order to verify a person's sexual orientation. [Homosexuals] are sent to three years in prison. Anal examinations are performed. This constitutes humiliation and torture. It is done to verify a person's sexual orientation, and [homosexuals] are sent to three years in prison. This is done in accordance with Article 230 of the Penal Code, which is the product of French colonialism rather than the will of the people, as expressed in the constitution, which guarantees one's dignity.