UN experts commended [press release] Tunisia Friday on the implementation of the National Preventive Mechanism (NPM), a torture prevention body, and recommended that officials ensure that the delegates are “well-resourced and able to function in the shortest time possible.” The experts visited the country from April 12-14. Tunisia has been taking steps toward creating the commission since 2011 when the nation ratified the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture (OPCAT) [text]. The experts expressed concern over receiving adequate financial aid to sustain the operation, as well as concerns about how the body will integrate with other government bodies and practices. Hans-Jörg Bannwart, the lead expert on the UN mission to Tunisia said, “[t]his engagement and commitment from all parties involved in this process is hugely encouraging.” Tunisia is the first nation North Africa and the Middle East region to implement an NPM as part of ratifying the OPCAT.
In 2013 Tunisia adopted the Instance Nationale de Prevention de la Torture, which is the required legislation the nation needed to begin the process for forming the NPM. The law establishing the organization was passed unanimously [JURIST report]. At that time, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights said [press release], “The adoption of this law is an important milestone during the ongoing transition in Tunisia, and in particular in the effort to bring the country in line with international rule of law and human rights norms and standards.” Tunisia has faced political turmoil since president Zine Al Abidine Ben Ali [BBC profile] left office amid nationwide protests in 2011.