Global civil society alliance, CIVICUS, and the Center for Research and Maghrebi Studies urge the Government of Algeria to accept recommendations received from the international community during its UN Universal Periodic Review (UPR), particularly regarding ending restrictions on the work of human rights defenders and creating an enabling environment for civil society organisations (CSOs).
On 8 May 2017, the Government of Algeria underwent its third UPR examination at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva. The UPR process involves the review of human rights records of all UN member states every 5 years. During the review over 100 states made 229 recommendations urging Algeria to improve its compliance with a broad range of international human rights standards. The Algerian government has until the 36th Human Rights Council session in September 2017 to determine which of these recommendations it will accept.
“Although the Algerian government sought to present a positive picture about civil society organisations and the media being able to operate freely, the situation on the ground is very different,” said Professor Ammar Djeffal of the Center for Research and Maghrebi Studies. “They face enormous pressure and obstructions from the authorities.”
Among other recommendations, Italy, Ukraine, Kenya and Australia called on Algeria to bring its national legislation in line with the Constitution and international human rights obligations safeguarding the rights to freedoms of assembly, expression and association. The United States also raised concerns about the recent arrest of members of independent media outlets as well as arbitrary restrictions on the work of CSOs under the Law on Associations, which applies lengthy and cumbersome registration processes for civil society. Moreover, the Government of Uruguay urged Algeria to remove restrictions on freedom of assembly and peaceful protest and ensure that CSOs can carry out their work unhindered.
Since its initial examination under the UPR in 2012, the government of Algeria has failed to take adequate measures to create a safe and enabling environment for civil society in the country. In its joint UPR submission, CIVICUS and the Center for Research and Maghrebi Studies documented the authorities’ persistent refusal to register independent CSOs as well as unwillingness to establish an effective appeal mechanism to safeguard against the unwarranted closure of civil society groups.
CIVICUS and the Center for Research and Maghrebi Studies have also reported on the authorities continued wilful misuse of national legislation to curtail people’s right to protest. In particular, the two organisations express alarm over the routine and politically motivated failure to grant approval to hold public gatherings to groups deemed critical of the government. Moreover, freedom of expression remains threatened by judicial persecution of activists’ expressing views on political matters on social media.
“It’s important that the Algerian government takes the recommendations received from the UPR process seriously as a responsible member of the international community but also as a country that demonstrates respect for the human rights of its people,” said Sara Brandt, Policy and Research Analyst at CIVICUS.
CIVICUS and the Center for Research and Maghrebi Studies urge the Algerian government to engage with national civil society organisations by carrying out inclusive consultations in response to the UPR recommendations received.
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Policy and Research Analyst, CIVICUS
CIVICUS Media team