Tunisia’s Anti-Racism Law Lands Women in Jail for Racial Slur

Published February 11th, 2019 - 11:48 GMT
The Tunisian teacher who was insulted for his skin color. (Twitter)
The Tunisian teacher who was insulted for his skin color. (Twitter)

Under a first-of-its-kind law in the Middle East, a Tunisian woman was sentenced to jail and fined for racially abusing a black teacher for his skin color.

According to the report, the mother had received a call from her daughter who said she was expelled from class for her behaviour. The mother rushed into school and insulted the teacher over his skin color.

Shortly after, the Tunisian mother was given a suspended jail sentence of five months for insulting the teacher in addition to paying a 400 Tunisian dinar ($134) fine.

Meanwhile, Tunisians were celebrating the court’s ruling as the first of its kind under the newly-imposed law that criminalize racial discrimination.

Translation: “For first time in Tunisia’s history, the “Nahyeh” court in the eastern city of Sfax has convicted a woman who insulted a teacher in accordance to the anti-racism law that was approved in October 28, 2018.”

The anti-racism law called “Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination Act” that was approved in October 2018 criminalizes all forms of racial discrimination acts.

According to the law, offenders might be jailed for up to one year and fined 1,000 Tunisian dinars for making racial insults.

Tunisians as well as many Arabs praised the law and the ruling.

Translation: “Finally, good news.”

This law comes 170 years after Tunisia became the first country in the region to abolish slavery in 1846 while still under the Ottoman empire's control.

However, the North African country still has a significant black minority up to now and several incidents of racial discrimination have been taking place in the past years, which required finding a law criminalizing racism.

Translation: “Racism does exist in Tunisia especially against dark-skinned people. Once I saw a TV show in which they said that black people in Tunisia do not have any rights. Also they have particular cemeteries and they do not integrate with the white as if they have a sickness.”

Tunisia has been a pioneer among countries in the region with amending laws for more equal rights to women. The post-revolution constitution in Tunisia has also granted women more equal rights than before.

It repealed the law that allowed rapists to escape the punishment if married their victims, introduced a new stricter law against women abuse and overturned the ban on Muslim women from getting married to non-Muslims.

Read More: Tunisia Calls For Equal Inheritance Law But What About Nafaqa?

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