On 9 October 2013 the National Constituent Assembly of Tunisia adopted the law which creates the first National Preventive Mechanism in the North Africa and Middle East region. For Nejib Hosni, lawyer and member of the transitional parliament, this was a historic and emotional moment.
"Most parliamentarians were happy about this law, but I think that very few really understood the importance, the positive impact that this will have in our country."
Nejib Hosni is a longtime partner of the APT and a member of our Advisory Council. As a lawyer and human rights defender he spent several years in prison, a political prisoner during the Ben Ali era. In the 1990’s APT’s President at the time, Marco Mona, took an interest in his case and the two became friends and allies in the fight against torture.
"It opened my eyes to the importance of prevention. I had been focusing on helping the victims and on denouncing the torturers. Now I really believe that preventing torture is a more effective way to go."
On Human Rights Day, 10 December, Hosni participated in an event at the UN in Geneva, alongside the Tunisian Minister for Human Rights, to share the experiences of the first Arab state to create a torture prevention mechanism. According to him, the support of APT and other international NGOs has been critical to make the new government understand the importance of criminalising and preventing torture. The international attention around the NPM law has increased the political motivation to take the process forward.
"I always believed that things would change, politically. But I didn’t think that it would happen so fast, all these reforms. Let’s just hope that reality will follow the ambitions."
Nejib Hosni says that he is proud of his country now.
"It is not perfect – but there are very important improvements in Tunisia."