The Advocates for Human Rights. together with the Word Coalition Against the Death Penalty and the Coalition tunisienne contre la peine de mort, submitted a List of Issues to the 84th Session of the Committee on the Rights of the Child regarding Tunisia’s compliance with its obligations regarding children of death-sentenced and executed individuals.
Since 9 October 1991, Tunisia has observed a de facto moratorium on executions. Following the 2011 revolution, the government stopped placing individuals sentenced to death in solitary confinement, and permitted them to receive visits and care packages from family members. In 2012, the government commuted 122 death sentences to life imprisonment. However, despite substantial improvements in human rights, the Tunisian government continues to violate the rights of children of death-sentenced or executed parents. Specifically, the government provides no evidence of efforts to protect a child’s right to maintain direct contact with their parent, access health care following the death sentence or execution of their parent, be free from arbitrary interference with their parents, and be free from a death sentence themselves.
The Convention on the Rights of the Child, ratified by Tunisia in 1992, as well as the Tunisian Constitution established in 2014, recognizes that the State must act in accordance with the “best interests” of the child. However, the Tunisian government fails to support the rights of children of death-sentenced or executed individuals; children are only allowed 30 minutes of non-physical contact with their parent per week, and are forced to bear the financial burden of the visitations. These children also receive little to no medical support for trauma they may endure resulting from their parent’s execution, demonization campaigns, guilt, and or political and social stigmas that result from having a parent sentenced to death. Lastly, an anti-terrorism law adopted in 2015 permits judiciaries to sentence children to death as terrorists.
This List of Issues submission suggests several questions to pose to the Tunisian Government, including:
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