European Parliament urges Tunisia to decriminalise homosexuality

in a reminder of how widely LGBT rights vary just a few borders away, the European Parliament has urged Tunisia to decriminalise homosexuality.

Article 230 of the Tunisian Penal Code allows three years imprisonment for ‘sodomy’. Over the past year a dozen people have been arrested under this law.

This stands in stark contrast with 2014 Constitution, which has been hailed as the most progressive constitution in the Arab world.

In its report the Parliament called for the repeal of Article 230, pointing out that it is “contrary to the constitutional principles of non-discrimination and the protection of privacy”.

Fabio Massimo Castaldo MEP, Vice-President of the LGBTI Intergroup and author of the report, commented: “In 2011, the protests of thousands of Tunisians led to the ousting of a dictator. The democracy and respect for human rights that Tunisians had fought for, was confirmed by the 2014 Constitution, which rightfully earned the Noble Peace Prize.”

“However, this Constitution does not solve all human rights problems. Article 230 still stands and is actively implemented by the authorities. This year again innocent people have been arrested because of their supposed sexual orientation.”

“With this report the European Parliament has said that it is time for this to stop. It is time for Tunisia to live up to its Constitution and repeal Article 230!”

Daniele Viotti MEP, Co-President of the LGBTI Intergroup, added: “With the report today, we brought our demand for decriminalisation of homosexuality at the core of the EU’s policy in Tunisia. We cannot accept the state-sponsored homophobia.”

“I urge the Commission and the External Action Service to bring up Article 230 at every opportunity. It is time to effectively use our relationship with Tunisia to stop homophobia!”