Algeria: Illegal Arrests, Detention and Forced Removal of Hundreds of Migrants

EuroMed Rights and the SNAPAP are alerting the United Nations and the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights

Algiers – Paris, 18 October 2017

Several hundred people of sub-Saharan origin were arbitrarily arrested in Algiers between late September and early October 2017 by the police and the National Gendarmerie. Without any regard for procedural safeguards and their fundamental rights, these people were arbitrarily detained at the centre in Zeralda (a western suburb of Algiers) and forcibly collectively transported to Tamanrasset where they were confined to a detention centre.

These people were then abandoned in the middle of the desert in a border area in the south of the country, for the purpose of inciting them to leave the territory. According to our information, these operations are similar to collective expulsions targeted against nationals of the following countries: Mali, Guinea (Conakry), Senegal, Niger and Cameroon. Supervision by the Algerian Red Crescent, a true humanitarian guarantee as was seen at the time of the collective expulsions conducted in December 2016 [1], did not in any way prevent these people’s rights from being violated.

EuroMed Rights and the SNAPAP today submitted a notice alerting the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Migrants, the Committee on the Rights of All Migrant Workers and their Families, and the Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Refugees, Asylum Seekers and Displaced Persons of the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights. The information forwarded was collected by the SNAPAP, working directly with the persons concerned by the arrests, and by the Association of the Refoulés of Central Africa in Mali (Association des Refoulés d’Afrique Centrale au Mali); all of the information is consistent with many testimonies shared on social media by the persons directly concerned. The press also reported on these stories [2].

The fact that the testimonies about these events are consistent and the presence of the official authorities reveal that these are organised operations. We condemn these practices that go against Algerian law (Act No. 08-11 of 25 June 2008) and Algeria’s international obligations.

We call upon the Algerian authoritie to immediately cease and desist these discriminatory and illegal practices, and call on the special mechanisms to react as soon as possible, including by conducting a visit to Algeria without delay. The Algerian authorities must also provide forthcoming and exhaustive responses to the issues raised by the Committee for the Protection of Migrant Workers (CMW/C/DZA/Q/2) ahead of the upcoming review of Algeria scheduled for 2018.