Algeria: The escalating repression threatens the survival of Algerian civil society

Algeria, Democracy and freedoms, Press Release

Read in:  French 

Joint statement of 21 Algerian, European and international organisations on the third anniversary of the pro-democracy protest movement “Hirak”.

On the third anniversary of the pro-democracy protest movement “Hirak”, the undersigned organisations express their strong concern at the dangerous intensification of repressive tactics used by Algerian authorities to silence peaceful dissent and stifle civil society. The arrests of human rights defenders Zaki Hannache and Faleh Hammoudi respectively on 18 and 19 February – the latter condemned to three years imprisonment on first instance on 20 February – are the latest examples of these repressive tactics.

The signatories urgently call on the Algerian government to stop the systematic criminalisation of peaceful activism, independent journalism, independent unions, and dissent, and for the release of all individuals imprisoned arbitrarily

While the number of prisoners of conscience has reached a new record (340 as of 9 February 2022, including seven women), the proliferation of arbitrary prosecutions on terrorism charges carrying heavy penalties and the unprecedented legal actions against civil and political organisations are of particular concern. In this context, at least 46 prisoners of conscience started a hunger strike on 28 January 2022  to protest their arbitrary detention. In what appears to be retaliatory action, five of them were physically assaulted while at least 23 were arbitrarily transferred to other prisons.

Authorities have moved to crush any remaining civic space, threatening the very survival of all components of independent civil society and the multiparty system. In response to this new crackdown, 21 Algerian, European and international organisations have reaffirmed their collective commitment to the defence of human rights in Algeria through the creation of a dedicated working group on 11 February 2022.

While the possibility of legal proceedings for crimes against humanity and war crimes against General Khaled Nezzar seems to be materialising in Switzerland, our organisations underline the urgent need to fight against the lack of independence of Algeria’s judiciary. This lack of independence has contributed to a long-standing history of impunity sadly reminiscent of the 1990s, when nearly 8,000 individuals were forcibly disappeared by state agents (link in French).

Read the recent developments on this link.

Signatories

  1. AfricanDefenders (Réseau panafricain des défenseurs des droits humains)
  2. Article 19
  3. Centre Justitia pour la protection juridique des droits de l’Homme en Algérie
  4. Collectif des Familles de Disparus en Algérie (CFDA)
  5. Confédération Française Démocratique du Travail (CFDT)
  6. Confédération Générale Autonome des Travailleurs en Algérie (CGATA)
  7. Confédération Générale Italienne du Travail (CGIL)
  8. Confédération générale du travail (CGT, France)
  9. Confédération Syndicale des Commissions Ouvrières (CCOO, Espagne)
  10. Euromed Droits
  11. Fédération Internationale des ligues des Droits de l’Homme (FIDH)
  12. FreeAlgeria
  13. Internationale de Services Publics (ISP)
  14. Institut du Caire pour les Études des Droits de l’Homme
  15. Ligue Algérienne de Défense des Droits de l’Homme (LADDH)
  16. L’Union syndicale – Solidaires
  17. MENA Rights Group
  18. Organisation Mondiale Contre la Torture (OMCT)
  19. Riposte Internationale
  20. Syndicat National Autonome des Personnels de l’Administration Publique (SNAPAP)
  21. Union Internationale des Travailleur-euses de l’Alimentation, de l’agriculture, de l’hôtellerie-restauration, du catering, du tabac et des branches connexes (UITA)

Related themes:

icon gender Democracy and freedoms

Related countries:

Algeria