The Tunisian parliament on Tuesday night approved the country's first law on the elimination of all forms of racial discrimination, in a move that was eagerly awaited by minority groups, reports AFP.
"The law is an important turning point in Tunisia, just like the abolition of slavery," Tunisian Social and Economic Rights Forum president Massoud Ramadani told AFP.
Tunisia abolished slavery in 1846 during the rule of the "Bayat" which means Ottoman rulers.
The new law sets penalties for racist speech, ranging from one month to one year of imprisonment and a fine of up to 1,000 dinars (about 300 euros).
Anyone who incites violence, hatred, discrimination and racial discrimination, and anyone who disseminates ideas based on racial discrimination, or "forming a group or organisation that explicitly and repeatedly supports discrimination, shall be punished by imprisonment of up to three years in prison" said Ramadani.
The fine could amount to 15,000 dinars (about 5,000 euros) if the case is taken to court.
Law No. 11/2018 aims at "the elimination of all forms of racial discrimination and its manifestations, the protection of human dignity and the equality of individuals in the enjoyment of rights and the performance of duties in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution and the international treaties ratified by the Republic of Tunisia".