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LGBTI organisation

Shams is a Tunisian LGBTI association. In May 2015, Shams was the first organisation for LGBT rights to receive official authorisation from Tunisia's interior ministry. However, the organisation and its members have since been subjected to systematic smear campaigns by religious actors and conservative political groups in the country. Leading members of Shams have received death threats following public appearances in the media.


Following the ousting of President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali as a result of the historic protests in 2011, the situation for human rights defenders (HRDs) in Tunisia began to improve. However, a number of challenges remain, as well as the risks that some of the progress achieved so far may be undermined.

LGBTI defenders in Tunisia are subjected to threats, intimidation, smear campaigns and judicial harassment. Homosexuality is illegal in Tunisia, punishable by up to three years in prison. Article 230 of the penal code criminalises “homosexual acts” by both men and women in the Arabic text and “sodomy” in the French version.