HRC Summary - Tunisia

Education has been dealt with twice.

 7. In its contribution, the Amazigh World Congress (CMA) expressed concern at the fact that legislation and institutional practice try to promote the Arab-Islamic identity exclusively and that, in its view, Tunisia simply denies the very existence of hundreds of thousands of Tunisian Amazighs, who comprise an indigenous non-Arabic population with its own identity (language, traditions, culture, etc). Similar concerns were raised by Tamazgha, which further indicated that the Berber language is not taught in the Tunisian educational system and that textbooks do not cover the Berbers’ history or civilization. Tamazgha further added that the Berber culture is not one of the targets for cultural development, promotion and support projects.

8. Concerns were also expressed by CMA at the fact that, as Amazigh society and culture are invisible, Amazigh children go through an education system that falsifies their history, conflicts with their personal beliefs, suppresses their freedom of conscience and despises their culture. CMA notes that the Amazigh do not have the right to form social or cultural associations; Amazigh given names are banned, there is no news in the Amazigh language in the written press or the State broadcast media in Tunisia; no Amazigh cultural activity receives State funding; and Amazigh groups in Tunisia have no right to cultural expression in their own language. Similar concerns were echoed by Tamazgha. Furthermore, according to CMA, he system of police surveillance and “preventive” institutional violence (threats, intimidation) act as effective deterrents, and Amazighs in Tunisia dare not even say openly and without fear that they are Amazighs and they even stop themselves speaking their language in public. They are thus safe from police threats, but at the price of silence and the repression of their identity.

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