European Parliament passes resolution on imprisonment of workers’ and human rights activists in Algeria

Algeria, Justice and the Rule of Law, Press Release, Shrinking Space for Civil Society

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On the eve of the International Workers’ Day on 1 May, our organisations welcome the resolution passed by the European Parliament calling on the Algerian authorities “to ensure the safety and security of civil society activists and human rights defenders and their freedom to pursue their legitimate and peaceful activities”.

The resolution reiterates a number of concerns regularly raised by our organisations about the degradation of the rights to freedom of expression, association and assembly in Algeria. Labour rights activists are regularly arrested only for exercising their right to free expression, and peaceful assembly and condemned to heavy penalties. These forms of harassment, which seem to aim only at sanctioning human rights activism, confirm the restrictive and repressive environment in which human rights defenders, including labour rights activists, operate today in Algeria.

This is the first resolution by the Parliament on this country since more than a decade. Our organisations now call on both the EU Member States and the EU High Representative to acknowledge the European Parliament resolution and to: “ensure that there is a clear and principled EU policy vis-à-vis Algeria […] in line with the EU Strategic Framework on Human Rights and Democracy”.

The EU should make sure the case of the eleven workers’ and human rights activists will be discussed as a matter of priority at the forthcoming EU-Algeria Association Council on 19 May. The resolution also reiterates a key demand of our organisations by calling “on the European External Action Service and the Member States to monitor closely all trials and judicial proceedings against human rights defenders and labour rights activists”.

In line with the European Parliament resolution, our organisations call on the Algerian authorities to immediately and unconditionally release peaceful activists Rachid Aouine, Mohamed Rag, Khencha Belkacem, Brahimi Belelmi, Mazouzi Benallal, Azzouzi Boubakeur, Korini Belkacem, Bekouider Faouzi, Bensarkha Tahar, Djaballah Abdelkader, as well as to withdraw all charges against them. The Algerian authorities should also put an end to  all forms of harassment and intimidation against labour rights activists and human rights defenders, including at the judicial level.