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Sleiman hails gender parity in Tunisian constitution

Lebanese President Michel Sleiman delivers a speech during a ceremony at the Tunisian National Constituent Assembly in Tunis on February 7, 2014, to celebrate the north African country's adoption of a new constitution three years after the revolution. (AFP PHOTO/ FETHI BELAID)

BEIRUT: President Michel Sleiman expressed support for the Tunisian constitution enshrining gender equality, days after a Lebanese woman was beaten to death by her husband and calls intensified for legislation in Lebanon to protect women from domestic violence.

Sleiman praised the new Tunisian constitution for “guaranteeing women’s rights” in a ceremony in the country’s capital Friday.

“The new constitution requires the state to guarantee women’s rights and protect her gains, raising these advances to the level of constitutional protections,” he said in his speech.

Sleiman’s statements came two days after a woman died in a Beirut hospital due to injuries she suffered when her husband allegedly beat her repeatedly with a pressure cooker, amid intensifying calls for domestic legislation to combat domestic abuse.

The president praised Tunisia for a “credible” transition to democracy.

Tunisian legislators approved late last month a new constitution that crowned two years of transition after protesters ousted President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali.

Sleiman said that new Arab constitutions must work to combat “prejudice and extremism” in addition to supporting minorities.

He also praised the creation of a Tunisian constitutional court, saying the country should learn from the Lebanese experience and ensure that the judicial branch is not pressured, politicized or obstructed.

He also praised the constitution’s guarantee of freedoms and rights for citizens, highlighting provisions to protect religious practices and institutions while keeping places of worship neutral to politics.

“We congratulate from our heart Tunisia and its people,” he said.

Sleiman met Tunisian President Moncef Marzouki, French President Francois Hollande and Iranian Speaker Ali Larijani during his visit.

Hollande reportedly discussed with Sleiman the Saudi gift of French weapons and reiterated his country’s support for Lebanon.

Larijani emphasized the importance of “security and stability in Lebanon, especially given the sensitive situation that the region finds itself in.”

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on February 08, 2014, on page 3.

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Summary

President Michel Sleiman expressed support for the Tunisian constitution enshrining gender equality, days after a Lebanese woman was beaten to death by her husband and calls intensified for legislation in Lebanon to protect women from domestic violence.

Sleiman said that new Arab constitutions must work to combat "prejudice and extremism" in addition to supporting minorities.

Sleiman met Tunisian President Moncef Marzouki, French President Francois Hollande and Iranian Speaker Ali Larijani during his visit.

Hollande reportedly discussed with Sleiman the Saudi gift of French weapons and reiterated his country's support for Lebanon.


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