Sihem Bensedrine was born in the 1950’s and grew up in Tunisia under the Zine El Albidine Ben Ali regime. Bensedrine was highly opposed to Ben Ali’s governmental power over civil society and was a driving force for the people’s movement against his government. Through the use of her journalism skills, the general public of Tunisia and people all around the world became aware of his actions and crimes against human rights. She risked her life to share the information she acquired with the people of Tunisia in order to publicize an otherwise suppressed topic. I have chosen to focus on Bensedrine as she relates directly to my country of Tunisia in the CEDAW simulation. Prior to today I had not heard of her. However, after research it is clear that she played a significant role in the awareness of governmental action in this era and I believe she is a very brave and inspirational woman.
Bensedrine has been tortured, imprisoned and constantly harassed by the police and governmental institutions for her work against discrimination in Tunisia in the last 20 years. With all the efforts to silence this women, she has persevered and kept moving to her goal of protecting human rights in a country where they are disregarded. She co-founded the National Council for Liberties in Tunisia (CNLT). This council closely watched the human rights conditions in Tunisia but did not receive full recognition from the government until the fall of the Ben Ali government in 2011. Bensedrine was imprisoned for six weeks in 2001 on the grounds of broadcasting “false news” and eventually left for exile. Bensedrine only returned to Tunisia last year after the fall of the former government and is now working as the president of the Arab Working Group of Media Monitoring. I feel her presence was quite influential and her courage is very inspiring for women in Tunisia.