Here is how you can help make it happen.
Tunisia is one of the 70 countries where it’s a crime to be gay – but things might change this week.
Last year, Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi put together a committee to review the country’s discriminatory laws. Their recommendation was clear: Tunisia should abolish Article 230, which criminalises homosexuality – but is often also used to criminalise transgender individuals.
For that to happen, President Essebsi must take the next step. If he accepts the recommendation, he should start a discussion in Parliament. He’s expected to announce his decision in the coming days.
More than 25,000 people signed a petition launched by Tunisian organisation Shams and international LGBTQ rights group All Out, urging Tunisia to get rid of Article 230. You can add your name by clicking here.
“Those who are incarcerated under Article 230 do not change their sexual orientation or gender identity, and are often sent back to prison,” said Mounir Baatour, president of Shams. “That means Tunisia is essentially jailing LGBTQ people for life.”
“No one should go to jail because of who they are or who they love – not in Tunisia, not anywhere,” said Matt Beard, Executive Director of All Out. “President Essebsi has an opportunity to affirm his commitment to human rights by putting an end to Tunisia’s anti-gay law once and for all.”
Shams and All Out also published an open letter to President Essebsi, which was signed by more than 40 organisations and activists from around the world.
The document also calls on the president to ban so-called “anal tests”, a discredited form of examination used by Tunisian authorities to supposedly find “evidence” of an individual’s sexual orientation.