Hollaback Movement – ending street harassment

Hollaback! is a movement dedicated to ending street harassment using mobile technology. Street harassment is one of the most pervasive forms of gender-based violence and one of the least legislated against. Comments from “You’d look good on me” to groping, flashing and assault are a daily, global reality for women and LGBTQ individuals. But it is rarely reported, and it’s culturally accepted as ‘the price you pay’ for being a woman or for being gay. At Hollaback!, we don’t buy it.

We believe that everyone has a right to feel safe and confident without being objectified. Sexual harassment is a gateway crime that creates a cultural environment that makes gender-based violence OK. There exists a clear legal framework to reproach sexual harassment and abuse in the home and at work, but when it comes to the streets—all bets are off. This gap isn’t because street harassment hurts any less, it’s because there hasn’t been a solution. Until now. The explosion of mobile technology has given us an unprecedented opportunity to end street harassment—and with it, the opportunity to take on one of the final new frontiers for women’s rights around the world.


Girl in Damascus, Boy in Edinburgh.

Exploring wider contex and deeper cultural significance of Amina/Tom story. The before and after.

So, this is how it really happend…or is it? I am sure the angry crowd of activists filled with righteous indignation is gathering as we speak and trashing of Tom MacMaster will be a favourite past time of bloggers and other opinionated persons this week.  
Instead of joining in proverbial stone throwing, I want to look at the contex and deeper cultural significance of Amina/Tom story

the suspicion was high even before Tom’s coming out
cautionary tale – privacy settings on facebook, hijacking identities, etc.
Londoner says missing Syrian blogger stole her identity

The reported disappearance of a gay Syrian-American blogger has attracted skepticism after a London woman claimed the photos published by news organizations worldwide are of her, not of the blogger, and that the blogger stole her identity a year ago.
BBC News – Newsnight – Mistaken identity of Syrian blogger

Jeremy Paxman talks to Jelena Lecic who was mistakenly identified as a Syrian dissident blogger and Mahmoud Hamad, a Syrian human rights activist. Jelena Lecic was shocked to see her picture in newspapers describing her as Amina Arraf who apparently writes a blog called ‘A gay girl in Damascus’ which criticises the Syrian authorities.
BREAKING: “A Gay Girl in Damascus” comes out as Tom MacMaster, Istanbul

Tom MacMaster, of Istanbul, Turkey, has just come out as the author behind A Gay Girl in Damascus. MacMaster was flushed out by Ali Abunimah and Benjamin Doherty. Here is his message in full: I never expected this level of attention.
Tom MacMaster confessed he is behind #Amina hoax following report by @avinunu & @bangpound. Thx also @lizhenry, @acarvin http://t.co/j40hDqe
June 12, 2011
A Gay Girl in Damascus: Apology to readers

I never expected this level of attention. While the narrative voıce may have been fictional, the facts on thıs blog are true and not mısleading as to the situation on the ground. I do not believe that I have harmed anyone — I feel that I have created an important voice for issues that I feel strongly about.
“A Gay Girl in Damascus” comes clean

In recent days, the world has followed closely the saga of Amina Araff, the blogger who presented herself online as "A Gay Girl in Damascus" and who drew attention with her passionate writings about the Syrian government’s crackdown on Arab Spring protesters.
Hala Gorani finally puts her finger on the real issue here
Media were interested bc MacMaster’s lie put a human face on a story we cannot cover in person. That is why there was interest. #Amina
June 12, 2011
Attacking #Amina ‘hoax’ misses the point. Theres no enforceable regime of truth in the online-offline relation. That is a tool in our fight
June 12, 2011

there are so many points, indeed

the issue of verification
Shadowy Viral-Media Campaign Shaping Events in Syria? « Qifa Nabki | A Lebanese Political Blog

Got your attention, didn’ t I? Yes I did, just like the two big stories about Syria that rocketed to the top of the Internet’s "trending" charts over the past few days. No, I’m not talking about the alleged massacre of Syrian security officials in Jisr al-Shughour or the government’s planned response.
Jillian C. York » Journalistic Verification, Amina Arraf, and Haystack

How did a Syrian blogger, who told beautiful and heartwrenching stories of life as a lesbian in Damascus, manage to trick so many people? How did an American software engineer, whose passion for the Iranian cause led him to build what he dubbed the safest of circumvention tools, do the same?

and a more obvious issue of anonymity and pseudonymity: a more obvious take on the whole situation, probably shared by most – ability to conceal our identity, which is clearly possible, if only temporarily

"Syrian blogger #Amina (A Gay Girl in Damascus) is a guy. http://t.co/h2XReb9" On the Internet, no one knows you’re a dog.
June 12, 2011
Notes on Amina, Facebook and the Reverse Tragedy of Commons: Pseudonymity under Repressive Conditions | technosociology

As the Internet first spread to the general public, there was great excitement about the potential identity experimentation. Gender, race, identity could, it seemed, all be re-invented online at the strike of a keyboard as, largely due to bandwidth limitations, text-based social environments dominated those days.
thanks @techsoc
Can’t believe that people actually use such a terrific context to play… How can we trust any blogger now ? They’re all potential #Amina
June 12, 2011
commenters engage with Tom’s apology, based on the critique of superficiality and pervasiveness of new forms of liberal Orientalism
The most infuriating aspect of Tom MacMaster’s "hoax" is claim media’s interest in #Amina reveals superficial coverage of Mideast. Please.
June 12, 2011
i can’t imagine a more "liberal orientalist" viewpoint than the one perpetuated by #amina. #apology-fail
June 12, 2011
Angry Arab reads the whiteness of the #Amina hoax. http://t.co/U2kn3Rf “Is there anything more racist, sexist, patronizing, and offensive?”
June 13, 2011
‘Gay Girl In Damascus’ Turns Out To Be An American Man: http://t.co/W19bbn1#Amina
June 12, 2011
My new @thisisworldtown blog post. Oriental desire and the fabrication of #Amina. Why this makes us so angry http://t.co/FwjeLpj
June 13, 2011
NEW POST: Oriental Desire: The Fabrication of #Amina. http://fb.me/HbTrjjej
June 13, 2011
#Amina could have never picked up any significant int’l. media attention at all if she was genuinely a “Niqabi Girl in Damascus”. #FACT
June 13, 2011

outrage out there

I’d say so "@miasgram: @acarvin False kidnapping report, Embassy resources wasted…thoughts on any prosecution…State Dept? #amina"
June 12, 2011
What Tom did re #Amina was like what predators who abduct children do: exploited to our best human instinct to care & be helpful. #Sociopath
June 12, 2011
Faking a kidnapping is criminal and unconscionable. Still in shock that someone I know could do that. #Amina
June 13, 2011
#FuckYouTom is the marker of indignati, it didn’t take long 
RT @monakareem: Oh man, the Syrian regime is gonna use the hell out of this #Amina case to prove how the uprising is a "foreign agenda" #FuckYouTom
June 12, 2011
others rightly point out the boy who cried wolf ramifications
‘Damascus gay girl’ blog a hoax

A blog purportedly written by a gay woman in Syria, which described life in Damascas amid the current political unrest, has been revealed to be a hoax. A Girl Gay in Damascus gained a worldwide readership and was closely followed by news organisations.

But probably the most serious kind of ethical criticism, by LGBT community, is this: feeding the foreign media a “dish of sex, religion and politics” from a distant, comfortable and safe place

From Damascus with Love: Blogging in a Totalitarian State: On #Amina hoax and it’s ramifications. http://bit.ly/l9hHpN #LGBT
June 12, 2011
the impact this little stunt will have on LGBT community in Syria and entire Middle East is unclear, but prospects are grim
GME – Gay Middle East – From Damascus with Love: Blogging in a totalitarian state

By Sami Hamwi and Daniel Nassar, 12.6.11 Following the revelation that "Amina" was a hoax two LGBT Syrian Activists speak out. Sami Hamwi, Gay Middle East Syria: Blogging in Syria has been forbidden by law for more than eight years.
#LGBT participated in Egypt & Tunisia uprising as citizens, not everything is about being gay!! Check your priorities please! #Amina #LGBTme
June 13, 2011
some see the absurdity of the situation
On my new blog, "Three Gay Cups of Tea in Damascus", I will chronicle my life as a lesbian who builds schools and raises unicorns. #amina
June 12, 2011
@Muslimerican Pity that so many fine writers of fiction, such as Macmaster, don’t stick to what they’re good at. 😦 #freeamina #amina
June 12, 2011
This all would have come out earlier if @repweiner had just sent a tweet of his crotch to #Amina. #TomMacMaster
June 12, 2011
while others pose a question indicates bloggers from conflict zones might get scrutinised more in the future
Perhaps you should all ask yourselves: do I really exist, or am I a 40-year-old white dude studying in Scotland? #freeamina #amina
June 12, 2011
I wonder how many #Amina /#MacMaster we have in Egyptian Twitter community. (Speaking of agents & spies, @Zeinobia)
June 12, 2011
A Free Press can make good faith mistakes. Fears of a tarnished reputation existed before #Amina, like rape existed before miniskirts.
June 13, 2011
and the story continues to be spinned
"I enjoyed “puppeting” this woman who never was" Tom #MacMaster has updated the #Amina blog, now headlined "A Hoax" http://bit.ly/lCR58e
June 13, 2011
A Hoax

Statement Regarding the Gay Girl in Damascus Blog Tom MacMaster Istanbul, June 13, 2011 I am the sole author of this blog and have always been so. Any and all posts on the blog are by me. Before I say anything else, I want to apologize to anyone I may have hurt or harmed in any way.
Spoke too soon. #Amina’s creator did a new post saying it WAS a social experiment and a creative writing project. #douchetank
June 13, 2011
there are consequences to be faced, though not exactly jail time yet
Breaking: Edinburgh university suspends Tom MacMaster’s computer access pending full inquiry into his use of its network for #amina hoax
June 13, 2011

the man himself speaks out – I wanted to develop writing conversation skills, I was not expecting anything, I didn’t set out to get into Guardian, everything blew out of control…I am sure Tom is hoping to get (and for sure will) a book deal out of this

Fictional blogging: just another term for literature. http://bit.ly/ikq5AV (Smart article via @EthanZ on #Amina, curation and ethics.)
June 13, 2011
Too bad Baudrillard is no longer with us. It would have been fascinating to here his reactions to Amina hoax.
June 13, 2011
Media should reward those who helped uncover fake #Amina w/exposure for their profesh projects, not give Tom satisfaction of becoming a star
June 13, 2011
this is getting too tangled up now..
#Amina flirted with Brooks,neither man realizing the other was pretending to be a lesbian http://wapo.st/iZ6D9Z [real world meets internet]
June 13, 2011
We ultimately came to conclusion "Paula" was lying about Paula, but telling truth about #Amina. TWO SEPARATE HOAXES WHO HOAXED EACHOTHER!!
June 13, 2011
Bill Graber/Paula Brooks says, "It was a major sock-puppet hoax crash into a major sock-puppet hoax.” #amina #lezgetreal
June 13, 2011
I guess it’s in for men to pretend to be lesbian, seriously what is going?! #Amina #lezgetreal http://t.co/72br8Vs
June 13, 2011

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European Summer Revolution


Protests in Spain, Crowdsourcing Constitution in Iceland, Online Deliberation in Belgium – what will European Summer wave of democratic revolutions look like?

#arabspring #europeansummer #worldwinter the Agenda simple and clear
June 12, 2011
It is simple, but what will it look like?

Manifestação Espanhola - Barcelona - Espanha 2011
Photo by naldomundim on flickr

Barcelona Plaça Catalunya Protest Banner
Photo by ceasedesist on flickr

Barcelona Plaça Catalunya Protest Messages
Photo by ceasedesist on flickr

“Like the so-called Arab Spring, the growing Spanish movements are spread via social media networks and led in the streets by the young….These revolutions are going to spread through the summer in Europe, and by the winter it’s going to go global”
Gerald Celente (read also article below)
Forecast: Spain’s protests to ‘go global’ – UPI.com

Published: May 27, 2011 at 4:35 PM KINGSTON, N.Y., May 27 (UPI) — Growing unrest in Spain will spread throughout Europe this summer and "go global" by winter, a U.S. trends forecaster said in an interview posted Friday. "Young people have wised up. They know the score," Trends Research Institute Director Gerald Celente told King World News.
Público.es – Especial Indignados

Galería de imágenes de la spanishrevolution

¿Nos indignamos?

No es suficiente, es necesario que seamos todos más inteligentes. No se trata de tener líderes brillantísimos –¿cuántas organizaciones repletas de genios funcionan fatal?–, sino de ser sociedades más eficaces que resuelvan de forma efectiva y pacífica sus conflictos y tengan reglas equitativas que distribuyan el trabajo y el bienestar.

basically, to be indignati is not sufficient, we need to find a way to resolve conflict and enhance our equitable distribution systems

 (more in the La Vanguardia article)

"Indignarse no es suficiente: hay que ser más inteligente"

Es difícil creer que la democracia se esté extendiendo por el planeta, árabes incluidos, sólo porque es moralmente superior a otras formas de gobierno. Por eso resulta tan oportuna la cita de Innerarity -pensador sistémico- del teorema que demuestra su mayor eficacia como mecanismo de decisión frente a los gobiernos de élite o del puro y arcaico ordeno y mando.
No te preguntes lo que la red puede hacer por ti, sino lo que puedes hacer tú por ella …

Porque "las herramientas del amo nunca desmontarán la casa del amo"… ¡Redes sociales del pueblo para el pueblo! >> Más sobre N-1.
Por que estamos #indignados y cansad@s de #partidospoliticos por que #nonosrepresentan y encima el #pactoddeleuro #en6dias #tomalacalle
June 13, 2011
15m encasquillado en la Reforma Electoral http://t.co/n02JwJ3 #acampadalp #solidarity #indignados #acampadalleida #acampadazgz #nonosvamos
June 13, 2011
a pan-European movement of resistance called The Coalition of Resistance has called for a meeting in London on Wednesday 15  June in support of the Spanish, Greek, and other European protestors. 
Eurozone in Crisis — #Solidarity with the Resistance | 15 June | Coalition of Resistance Public Meeting http://bit.ly/mjQkAf #indignados
June 13, 2011
Eurozone in Crisis — Solidarity with the Resistance | 15 June

speakers:Esther Romero, Democracia Real Ya – LondonSofia Hilari, Greek anticapitalist activistKate Hudson, CoRAlex Kenny, NUT The EU, the IMF, and the European Central Bank have created a Europe of bailouts for the rich and cutbacks for the rest. But resistance is rising. Hundreds of thousands have joined demonstrations, strikes, and mass occupations of public squares.
Column: Why aren”t we this angry? An Irish person”s view of the Spanish protests (via @thejournal_ie) http://jrnl.ie/147270 #Ireland #Spain
June 12, 2011
http://t.co/UvkRePN streaming de #setasrevueltas #M15M #spanishrevolution #indignate #europeanrevolution #europeansummer #hope RT
June 12, 2011
The evolution of the Spanish protests: http://pulse.me/s/9F6t #Spain #solsemueve
June 11, 2011
¿¿Estaremos viviendo una época de transformación social?? Hacia la sociedad del conocimiento!! 😀 #democraciarealya #spanishrevolution
June 14, 2011
Ahora con el enlace bien puesto: Despierta! Este domingo #tomalacalle . Busca tu ciudad en http://bit.ly/heWyIH #democraciarealya #fb
June 14, 2011
If you are in Spain, it’s coming to your town
Inicio – ¡Democracia Real YA!

Comunicado de apoyo al pueblo griego (13/06/2011) Los medios españoles siguen silenciando estos acontecimientos tan graves. En mayo del 2010 el gobierno griego vendió las tierras, los servicios públicos y privados según las exigencias de FMI, BCE y UE. El pueblo Griego hace más de un año que dejó de ser un Estado libre e independiente.

Meanwhile, in other countries, people still ponder which route to take: the streets or the bandwidth?

@stjornlagarad and @G1000org are two addresses worth following as democratic revolution is coming to Europe #EuropeanSummer
June 13, 2011
Een jaar crisis? Breng 1000 burgers samen om mee te praten. Un an de crise? Rassemblons 1000 citoyens pour participer à la discussion.
Geoffrey Hantson
June 11, 2011
une initiative citoyenne pleine de perspectives !
Michel de Kemmeter
June 11, 2011
G1000 Burgertop | Sommet citoyen G1000

Een jaar crisis? Breng 1000 burgers samen om mee te praten. Un an de crise? Rassemblons 1000 citoyens pour participer à la discussion.
enter Iceland, a sci-fi country with database of its citizens’ DNA
Knock Knock Democracy,iz ya boi,social media comin change da game! Iceland Crowdsources Its Constitution http://t.co/E26hrh0 @mashable #fb
June 13, 2011
Here is a Country using Social Media to ensure maximum participation and transparency. Very impressive! http://fb.me/PdFwEUn6
June 13, 2011
Amazing: Iceland is crowdsourcing its new constitution http://t.co/KBKuJBO. I am liking this rising social media-powered democratic era!!
June 13, 2011
Stjórnlagaráð 2011 – English

The role of the Constitutional Council is to discuss the Constitutional Committee Report and prepare a bill about a revised constitution, taking into consideration the results of the National Forum 2010. The Constitutional Council decides which parts shall be revised and/or suggests new provisions or chapters be added to the current Constitution.
and now Italians too
Italians find voice and punish Berlusconi

Italians have firmly rejected Silvio Berlusconi’s plans to revive nuclear power and his right to skip his trial hearings, in a popular referendum which the prime minister had urged voters to boycott.
@NoonArabia After the Arab Spring comes now the Italian Summer (ok, Greece, Spain and Portugal are to be named as well).
June 14, 2011
Defeat of nuclear power, another no to Berlusconi, called "Italian Spring"… sounds lovely & ’bout time http://t.co/M6CrxeA
June 14, 2011
and let’s not forget the Greeks..
Révolte de masse en Grèce. #frenchrevolution #europeanrevolution #worldrevolution #Marseille http://fb.me/NeuXZfRv
June 14, 2011

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Democracy in China? In 2017..

there is no case of a  democracy collapsing into a non-democratic form government once it has achieved per capita annual incomes of $10,000. The 45 larger democracies to have made the $10,000 grade now include Mexico and Lebanon on 2009 data.  Turkey, Brazil and Serbia probably joined the club in 2010, says Robertson. Even above $6,000 per capita per year, the chances of a democracy “dying” are only 1 per cent in any given year.   Only five have ever lost their democratic status – Greece in 1967 (with an annual per head income of $9,800), Argentina in  1976 ($8,180) , Thailand in 2006 ($7,440), Venezuela in 2009 ($9,115), and Iran, which  slipped from fragile democracy back to autocracy in 2004 ($8,475). The big exception are energy producers, notably in the Middle East, where autocracies have survived with very high income levels, beyond $19,000 annually. Robertson says the answer is straightforward – these states don’t need to tax their citizens. (summary of today’s democracy blogging favourite topic by Stefan Wagstyl)

Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly passes resolution about Tunisia

Provisional edition

The situation in Tunisia

Resolution 1819 (2011)1

1.       The Parliamentary Assembly refers to its Resolution 1791 (2011) on the situation in Tunisia, adopted in January 2011 at the end of a debate held under the urgent procedure only two weeks after the Jasmine Revolution that put an end to the Ben Ali regime. It again pays tribute to the courage and determination of the Tunisian people who, despite violent repression, have clearly shown the will to put an end to authoritarian rule and to transform Tunisia into a free, open and democratic country.

2.       Five months after the revolution, the Assembly notes with satisfaction that the process of democratic transition in Tunisia is well under way and steps have already been taken to dismantle the structures of the former regime and put in place elements of a democratic political system.

3.       The Assembly pays tribute to the courage, competence and determination of the members of the interim government, the newly established authorities and the representatives of civil society.

4.       The Assembly reaffirms its readiness to put its experience of accompanying democratic transitions and establishing new institutions in young democracies in Europe at the disposal of Tunisia’s transition institutions, future permanent institutions and civil society. It has no intention of giving lessons or imposing models, however, and respects the sovereign choices of the Tunisians. Any support and assistance must be governed by respect for the Tunisian people and their dignity.

5.       The Assembly supports the intention of the transition authorities to organise elections to a National Constituent Assembly as soon as possible in order to ensure the democratic legitimacy of the transformations under way. It congratulates the authorities on drafting a legal framework for the elections and entrusting their organisation to an independent authority. It is aware, however, that the material organisation of the elections presents a great many practical problems. It notes that, following a proposal from the Independent High Authority for the Elections and the consultation between the transitional government and the main political forces of the country, the elections originally scheduled for 24 July 2011 should be held on 23 October 2011.

6.       At the same time, the Assembly is concerned about the considerable deterioration of the economic and social situation of the country, including a substantial increase in the unemployment rate. It takes note of the efforts of the provisional government to stimulate the economy and create jobs, but considers international solidarity is needed to support Tunisia in transition.

7.       The revolution created much enthusiasm and high expectations in the Tunisian population. If there is no concrete economic improvement, support for the revolution may quickly wane and give way to feelings of disillusion and disappointment.

8.       The sudden rise in political tension in early May 2011 showed that the apparent stability of the political situation in Tunisia is still very fragile and that the discontent of a considerable part of the population can easily be exploited to destabilise the country on the eve of the elections. The Assembly urges all Tunisian political and civil forces to act responsibly and not endanger the transformation process under way.

9.       The authorities must make it a priority to strengthen internal security, which is very fragile.

10.       The Assembly welcomes the fact that the setting of priorities and the development of the reform programme are essentially taking place in an inclusive political climate with the broad participation of civil society players.

11.       It notes with satisfaction that contacts have been established between the European Commission for Democracy through Law (Venice Commission) and the Higher Authority for Realisation of the Objectives of the Revolution, Political Reform and Democratic Transition, and encourages the Higher Authority to avail itself fully of the experience and expertise of the Venice Commission in the preparation of the new constitution.

12.       The Assembly is ready to contribute to the organisation and observation of the elections to the National Constituent Assembly and welcomes the intention of the authorities to invite it to observe those elections.

13.       The Assembly reiterates the importance of taking steps to curb corruption and nepotism and to investigate abuses of power committed by the former ruling elites of Tunisia. It notes that a trial in absentia of the former President Ben Ali took place on 20 June 2011. It encourages the Commission of Inquiry into misappropriation of funds and corruption to shed all possible light on the abuses committed by the former rulers of Tunisia and those close to them. It calls upon the transition authorities and the future Tunisian authorities to put in place an effective anti-corruption mechanism.

14.       The Assembly calls on the Tunisian transition authorities to:

14.1.       guarantee, in the framework of the election campaign for the National Constituent Assembly, respect for fundamental political freedoms such as freedom of assembly, freedom of association, freedom of expression and media freedom, as well as individual rights;

14.2.       ensure that the essential democratic principle of separation of the temporal and spiritual powers is respected;

14.3.       ensure that all state security forces observe strict neutrality and do not interfere in the electoral process;

14.4.       create fair and transparent conditions for the election campaign, and in particular guarantee equal access to the media for the different political forces and the citizens’ right to access to information in order to be able to make informed political choices;

14.5.       ensure that the funding of political parties and the election campaign is transparent;

14.6.       create the conditions for national and foreign observers to follow the electoral process in complete transparency;

14.7.       ensure speedy and objective examination of any possible challenge.

15.       The Assembly calls on the Tunisian political and civil forces to:

15.1.       conduct the election campaign in an atmosphere of calm and mutual respect;

15.2.       refrain from any attempt to provoke or exacerbate political, economic or social tensions, or to disturb public order;

15.3.       comply with the electoral legislation and with the decisions of the institutions responsible for organising the elections;

15.4.        accept and respect the results of the vote.

16.       The Assembly encourages civil society players to remain actively involved in the organisation and follow-up of the electoral process and, after the elections, in the promotion of democratic principles and values in the framework of the reforms.

17.       After the election of the National Constituent Assembly, the Assembly invites the future Tunisian authorities to:

17.1.       ensure that the positive achievements of Tunisian society, in particular the high level of education and the status of women, are safeguarded;

17.2.       put in place conditions enabling Tunisian youth to be actively involved in public life and political action and in this way give effect to its wish to be an active force for change;

17.3.       continue the political reform process, taking inspiration from universal principles and values and the experience of democratic transition accumulated in the Council of Europe;

17.4.       deepen for this purpose the dialogue with the appropriate bodies, mechanisms and structures of the Council of Europe. To this end, the Assembly reiterates the elements contained in paragraph 13 of Resolution 1791 (2011), and again invites the future Tunisian authorities to:

17.4.1.        accede to those Council of Europe legal instruments which are open to non-member states, in particular to those in the fields of democracy, human rights and the rule of law;

17.4.2.        avail themselves fully of Tunisia’s membership of the Venice Commission in the future constitutional reform process;

17.4.3.        accede to the Council of Europe’s enlarged partial agreements, such as the North-South Centre and the European and Mediterranean Major Hazards Agreement;

17.4.4.        establish contacts between the Council of Europe and the authorities in Tunisia
responsible for questions of justice, sustainable development, culture, education and higher education, youth and sport, gender equality and the rights of the child;

17.4.5.        study and use, in their respective activities, the experience of the Council of Europe human rights institutions and monitoring mechanisms, including the European Court of Human Rights and the Commissioner for Human Rights;

17.4.6.        foster contacts between Tunisian and European parliamentary and civil society

17.4.7.        consider the prospects for parliamentary dialogue offered by the Partner for Democracy status recently established by the Assembly.

18.       The Assembly invites the Secretary General of the Council of Europe to:

18.1.       strengthen contacts and consider support measures for Tunisian civil society;

18.2.       examine the extent to which Tunisia could benefit from the experience of the Council of Europe Schools of Political Studies;

18.3.       examine ways of involving representatives of Tunisian youth in the activities of the Council of Europe in the youth field;

18.4.       examine the possibility of inviting Tunisian representatives to the Summer University for Democracy;

18.5.       raise, in his contacts with the Council of Europe’s international partners, above all the European Union and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), the need for effective co-ordination of efforts to assist the democratic transition in Tunisia.

19.       The Assembly invites the European Commission to reconsider its decision to withdraw its financial support for the existing network of Council of Europe Schools of Political Studies.

20.       The Assembly calls on the main international partners of Tunisia, in particular the European Union, to demonstrate genuine solidarity towards this country in transition, and speedily provide real support to stimulate the economy and tourism and improve the social situation.

21.       It considers it entirely inappropriate to tarnish the image of Tunisia, a country that has just freed itself from an authoritarian regime and chosen democracy, to that of a country that is a source of irregular migrants.

22.       The Assembly confirms its determination, already expressed in Resolution 1791 (2011), to follow political developments in Tunisia closely and strengthen its dialogue with the country’s political forces and civil society players. It is ready to establish contacts with the future National Constituent Assembly, and to invite its representatives to be present in Strasbourg during its plenary sessions, on the basis on its Resolution 1598 (2008) “Strengthening co-operation with the Maghreb countries”.

23.       The Assembly decides to invite representatives of the future National Constituent Assembly and of the future Tunisian Parliament to participate in the Forum for the Future of Democracy.

24.       The Assembly asks national parliaments of Council of Europe member and observer states and parliamentary supported foundations to foster contacts with Tunisian parliamentary bodies.

1 Assembly debate on 21 June 2011 (22nd Sitting) (see Doc. 12624, report of the Political Affairs Committee, rapporteur: Ms Brasseur). Text adopted by the Assembly on 21 June 2011 (22nd Sitting).