Preventing and countering violent extremism: When policies fail women

« Not for fame, not for nikah, not for fun », once tweeted a female ISIS member called Shams . Women have long been valued fighters in liberation movements and other politically motivated armed guerilla warfares, but recently a new troubling form of women’s political militantism has emerged and raises a serious question: Why would women eagerly join a violent terrorist movement that is strongly patriarchal, misogynistic and moreover profoundly disregards their dignity as human beings? Understanding why women have joined ISIS is essential if we want to create effective prevention and reintegration programs.

Reforming Tunisia’s law on associations: towards a lockdown on freedoms?

The legal framework governing associations is high on the reforms agenda, at least according to a meeting held by Mehdi Ben Gharbia and a group of legal experts in February. The initiative echoes a recent Financial Action Task Force evaluation in which Tunisia was knocked down a grade for its non-profit sector. And while the fight against money laundering and terrorism is the government’s key argument when it comes to reforming legislation on associations, the proposed amendments, in parallel with the demonization of certain associations, portend rights violations and a gradual lockdown of the sector.

More than security, human rights are threatened in Tunisia

In seamless consistency with the government’s response to the Bardo and Sousse attacks in March and June, official discourse, superficial security measures, and the actions of security forces since last Tuesday’s tragedy reflect the absence of a comprehensive counterterrorism strategy and have kept alive the notion that effective security requires the relinquishing of certain rights and liberties.

Between Tunisia and Libya: a wall and duty-free zone for border and economic security

Informal commerce is not limited to one category of merchandise, one geographic region, one demographic; trafficked items include weapons, food products, and gasoline and circulate the country via markets in Ben Guerdane, Kasserine, Sfax, Tunis; smugglers range from merchants of little means to prominent businessmen who are comparatively economically resilient and more likely to withstand trade restrictions imposed at the borders. For many smugglers of lesser means, survival depends upon their ability to navigate a political vision and legal framework which serve neither to sustain nor protect them.

Tunisia and the Wall: government solidifies its vision of “national unity”… through exclusion

…Everyone, it seemed, was talking about the wall, a trench-lined sand barricade that is to stretch some 200 kilometers along Tunisia’s border with Libya. In the capital, a world away from the country’s borders, conversations are based on hear-say, rumors, and speculation. Approbation, uncertainty, suspicion…the sentiments provoked are varied, though many remain simply baffled at the belated unveiling and precipitous construction of the government’s latest counterterrorism mechanism, a wall between Tunisia and its neighbor to the south-east.