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Tunisia sets path for eradicating torture

Oct. 11, 2013 at 12:57 PM

GENEVA, Switzerland, Oct. 11 (UPI) -- Tunisia is the first country in the Middle East and North Africa to set up a legislative body tasked with eradicating torture, the United Nations said Friday.

The legislative assembly in Tunisia this week voted unanimously to adopt a law establishing a committee to prevent torture.

The U.N. Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights welcomed the measure as a key step forward.

"The adoption of this law is an important milestone during the ongoing transition in Tunisia, and in particular in the effort to bring the country in line with international rule of law and human rights norms and standards," the OHCHR said in a statement Friday.

Tunisia ratified an international treaty on the prevention of torture in 2011 after a revolution unseated longtime leader Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali.

The U.N. Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture said it would work with Tunisian authorities to help ensure torture is eradicated in Tunisia. The subcommittee is the only U.N. body with a mandate for unrestricted access to detention centers.

Ennahda, the Islamist party that took power after the revolution, announced in September it would step down amid frustration with its religious leanings. Ennahda said it would hand power over to a caretaker government tasked with paving the way to new elections.

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