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Tunisia rejects UNHRC recommendation to decriminalize gay sex

TUNIS, Tunisia -- Tunisian minister of human rights, transitional justice and spokesman of the Tunisian government, Samir Dilou has rejected a recommendation by the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) to decriminalize same-sex acts, stating that sexual orientation was a western concept which is incompatible with Islam, Tunisian culture and traditions.

In a press conference held in Tunis, Dilou stated that while all Tunisians are entitled to basic protection, the concept of ‘sexual orientation is specific to the West. Tunisia has its own identity as an Arab Muslim state,’ he was quoted by Tunisia Live magazine.

According to Dilou Tunisian law overrides such a “stipulation” as it ‘clearly describes Tunisia as an Arab Muslim country.’

He also does not see the law against homosexuality as in conflict with the premise of freedom: ‘there is no absolute freedom. All freedoms are restricted by the law’, he stressed.

The anti-gay French colonial law (Article 230), adopted and maintained by the Ben Ali regime, is still in effect, despite the Tunisian revolution, penalizing same-sex acts with up to three years imprisonment.

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