ASF in Tunisia

Location: Tunis Date of establishment: 2012 Team: 30 collaborators Facebook Page: ASF in Tunisia


Almost three years after the 2011 revolution, Tunisia was emerging from a long period of transition, which led to the adoption of a new Constitution (in December 2014) and new institutions, the establishment of a democratically elected parliament and the election of a new President.

Tunisia had then embarked on a democratic transition led in particular by civil society after several decades under the autocratic regime of Ben Ali. Priorities at the time included:

  • Bringing legislation into line with international standards;
  • Improving the independence and impartiality of the judiciary;
  • Improving access to justice and state legal aid;
  • Reform of the Code of Criminal Procedure, including Article 13 guaranteeing the systematic presence of a lawyer in police custody;
  • Extending and respecting civil liberties;
  • Respect for the rights of the defence and a fair trial;
  • Implementation of the mechanisms put in place to deal with the past: enabling victims to be rehabilitated and providing justice for the State crimes committed during the dictatorship and the revolution (Truth and Dignity Commission and specialised chambers).

This transition, despite its many advances, struggled to fulfil all its promises, encountering a great deal of resistance. It was brought to a sudden halt on 25 July 2021, when President Kaïs Saied activated Article 80 of the Constitution. Based on a very broad reading of its provisions, the President established a state of emergency, starting to dismantle the institutions that had emerged from the 2011 revolution. Parliament and the constitutional bodies were dissolved. The President granted himself full powers by decree and unilaterally ratified a new Constitution, passed by referendum under deleterious conditions.

The new consitution grants more power and competences to the executive power to the detriment of the legislative and judicial powers, which have been considerably weakened. At the same time, civil society and the checks and balances have been under attack, through the use of the security apparatus and the repression of opponents, the press and trade unions. The hateful rhetoric of the regime has also contributed to fueling campaigns of racist violence against sub-Saharan Africans.

ASF’s intrevention

It is in this difficult context of shrinking civic space and repeated attacks on fundamental rights and freedoms that Avocats Sans Frontières continues to work, with its partners, as close as possible to local populations to defend its mandate, promote access to justice and human rights, in particular by working with populations in a vulnerable situation (gender and sexual minorities, migrants, women, minors, detainees, etc.).




November 7, 2023

Tunisia - Reject bill dismantling civil society: Arbitrary restrictions and excessive government control

November 7, 2023

تونس:يجب رفض مشروع قانون يهدف إلى تفكيك المجتمع المدني

October 5, 2023

Report Justice ExPEERience 2021-2023

October 5, 2023

(French) Report Justice ExPEERience 2021-2023


October 16, 2023

Justice ExPEERience, the human rights network launched by ASF, celebrates its second anniversary

Two years ago, Avocats Sans Frontières launched Justice ExPEERience, a network for the promotion of human rights, as well as an online platform of the same name to support and energise this network. This anniversary is an opportunity for us to look back at the history and mandate of the Justice ExPEERience network and its platform. A report on its first two years of activity has just been published, covering developments since its creation, its key projects and also its development prospects.

September 22, 2023

ExPEERience Talk #11 - Decriminalising poverty, status and activism: a global emergency, an international campaign

This 11th ExPEERience Talk will be devoted to the Campaign for the Decriminalisation of Poverty, Status and Activism. Several of its members will present its history and how it operates. They will discuss the challenges encountered and the opportunities presented by the networking of a multiplicity of actors to tackle a global and systemic issue of such magnitude.

September 14, 2023

The campaign to decriminalise poverty, activism and status

The Campaign for the Decriminalisation of Poverty, Status and Activism, launched in Africa, South Asia, North America and the Caribbean, is led by a coalition of civil society organisations calling for the revision and repeal of laws that target people because of their status (social, political or economic) or their activism. In many countries, criminal procedure, penal codes and policing policies continue to reflect a colonial legacy. Offences dating from the colonial era, such as vagrancy, begging or disorderly conduct, are commonly used against people already in a vulnerable or marginalised situationt (homeless people, people with disabilities, drug users, LGBTIQ+ people, sex workers, migrants, etc.), with the sole aim of criminalising what they represent in society rather than the offences they have committed.