Freedom of assembly : a seriously violated law in Algeria

Algeria, Freedom of Speech, Press Release, Shrinking Space for Civil Society

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Copenhagen, 21 December 2015 – EuroMed Rights condemns the repeated violations of the freedoms of assembly and demonstration in Algeria, and the prohibition on human rights organisations’ activities during this month of celebrations of rights and freedoms.

On 11 December, the members of the Executive Committee of the Maghreb Coordination of Human Rights Organisations (CMODH – Coordination maghrébine des organisations de droits humains) were prohibited by the Algerian authorities from entering the room that had been reserved in a hotel for the purpose of holding an internal training course. The members of the CMODH had come from Morocco, Tunisia, Mauritania and the Algerian Diaspora to follow internal capacity-building workshops planned to take place over the course of 3 days.

Unfortunately, this practice is common in Algeria: the authorities almost never issue permissions to conduct meetings to human rights organisations, let alone permissions to hold protest rallies on public streets. On 9 December, on International Anti-Corruption Day, a conference organised by the Algerian Anti-Corruption Association was prohibited from taking place. On 10 December, on International Human Rights Day, the meeting of the families of victims of forced disappearances was surrounded by police who arrested 9 members of the Algerian Association for the Defence of Human Rights and held them for several hours. Several trade union gatherings were also dispersed and activists were arrested, as happened in Bouira on 1 December.

EuroMed Rights urges the Algerian authorities to finally fulfil their international and constitutional obligations to protect the freedoms of peaceful assembly, of association and expression, and to promote civic participation, even should it be critical.

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