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U.N. troubled by women's rights in Tunisia

Aug. 21, 2012 at 10:10 AM   |   Comments

UNITED NATIONS, Aug. 21 (UPI) -- The Tunisian government is called on to take steps to ensure women are afforded basic liberties in the new constitution, a U.N. group said.

A U.N. working group on discrimination against women expressed concern that draft provisions on the Tunisian Constitution marked a major setback for women's role in modern society.

The group said the country's draft constitution contains provisions that describe women as "complementary to the one of the men in the family."

Kamala Chandrakirana, director of the women's working group, said basic liberties should be extended to women in society based on the fact that they're human beings.

"Although the text refers to women's role in nation-building, it conditions this on women being 'complementary to men,' thereby failing to establish the basis for full independence and empowerment of women and their participation as active citizens for change," she said in a statement.

A protest suicide in December 2010 in Tunisia led to the revolution that was credited with sparking the Arab Spring. Islamist party Ennahda has since dominated Tunisian politics.

Women last week protested the wording of the draft measure in Tunisia, the BBC reported. The previous constitution, drafted in the 1950s, extended basic equalities to women.

© 2012 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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