TUNISIA: National Laws

Summary: General overview of Tunisia's national legal provisions on children's rights, including guidance on how to conduct further research.

عر بية


National laws on children's rights

Status of CRC in national law
Article 32 of the Tunisian Constitution provides that: “Treaties ratified by the President of the Republic and approved by the Chamber of Deputies shall have a higher authority than that of laws”. In line with this provision, international instruments take precedence over domestic law, and are directly applicable in national courts. In addition, proposed laws relating to children's rights must be reviewed for compliance with the CRC and approved by the Tunisian Constitutional Council before entering into force.

Constitution: No provisions of the Tunisian Constitution specifically mention children or children's rights.

Legislation: Tunisia's Child Protection Code covers a wide range of matters related to children's rights from violence against children to children in conflict with the law, and the Act on the Education System (1991) covers matters related to schooling. In addition, a number of general codes have specific relevance for children's rights, including the Labour Code, Code of Personal Status, and Penal Code. Other relevant laws include, but are by no means limited to:

  • Act No. 2002-80 of 23 July 2002 on the general principles undelying education and schooling

  • Act No. 2007-32 of May 2007 equalizing the minimum age for marriage for boys and girls;

  • Act No. 2005-32 of April 2005 setting the age of admission of children to domestic employment at 16 years instead of 14 years (18 years for some types of work);

  • Act No. 2005-83 of August 2005 laying down general principles concerning the promotion and protection of persons with disabilities

Legal Research:
The Tunisian Chamber of Deputies (Majils-al_Nuwaab) maintains a website in Arabic (http://www.chambre-dep.tn/), and Executive Government maintains an official website in French (http://www.tunisie.gov.tn/index.php?lang=french) and in Arabic (http://www.tunisie.gov.tn/index.php?lang=arabic) which links to the Official Gazette, where new laws are published. The GlobaLex initiative at New York University has published a guide to legal research in Tunisia (http://www.nyulawglobal.org/globalex/tunisia.htm), and the U.S. Library of Congress (http://www.loc.gov/law/help/guide/nations/tunisia.php) and World Legal Information Institute ( http://www.worldlii.org/catalog/50830.html) have compiled a selection of relevant links. A copy of the Tunisian Constitution is available in English at http://confinder.richmond.edu/admin/docs/Tunisiaconstitution.pdf .

Case law
CRC Jurisprudence
Please contact CRIN if you are aware of any cases in national courts that reference the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Case Law Research
The website of the Tunisian court system is available in French and Arabic (http://www.e-justice.tn/), although jurisprudence is not readily accessible.

Compliance with the CRC
The Committee on the Rights of the Child commended the Tunisian Government for “significant legislative reform undertaken in the field of the rights of the child.” However, it was also concerned that there was little information available on the effective implementation of this legislation, and regretted “that some of its [previous] conerns and recommendations have been insufficiently or only partly addressed.”

In depth analysis:
Tunisia has taken some positive steps in order to improve the effectiveness of the High Council for Children as a mechanism for coordination. In addition, budgetary allocation for children has been increased, and that civil society has taken an active role in the process of reform.

However, the ways in which children's rights are addressed are disjointed and uncoordinated, and there’s a lack of clarity in the way the resources are being spent. Furthermore, “the Committee is concerned, that non-governmental organizations critical of State’s policies face obstacles in participating in the policy formulation, planning and budgeting phases of Government programmes.”

Current legal reform projects
Please contact CRIN if you are aware of any current legal reform projects.    


Please note that these reports are hosted by CRIN as a resource for Child Rights campaigners, researchers and other interested parties. Unless otherwise stated, they are not the work of CRIN and their inclusion in our database does not necessarily signify endorsement or agreement with their content by CRIN.