Tunisian authorized to remove a reference to slavery from his surname

This is a first in Tunisia: a court in Medenine (south) accepted the request of an 81-year-old black man to remove the mention “Atig” from his surname, which refers to descendants of slaves. An important step for Tunisia; which passed a law against racism and discrimination in 2018.

as reported from Tunis Lilia blaise

174 years after the abolition of slavery in Tunisia, Hamden Atig Dali, 81 years old and resident of Djerba, was finally able to remove the term “Atig” from his surname meaning “liberated by” and is a direct reference to a slave inheritance. In the name of Article 2 of the anti-racist law passed by Tunisia two years ago, Hamden Dali could argue that this surname is stigmatizing and humiliating. It differs differently on race and color.

This derogatory word is still found in the names of certain black families in southern Tunisia, as is the word “chouchen”, which means “liberated from”.

This is an important victory for Hamden and his son Karim, who had filed an application in 2017, rejected due to lack of committees responsible for these issues and a specific law. Today, with the legal support of the Minority Rights Group International Association and the Tunisian association Mnemty, Hamden and his son can remove this name from all their official documents. For these two NGOs, it is also a step forward thanks to the anti-racist law that can encourage other actions. Nearly 23 complaints of discrimination were filed in 2020 with 160 Tunisian lawyers trained in the new legislation.

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