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Algeria

    October 23, 2017

    The Algerian authorities have launched a discriminatory crackdown against foreign nationals, rounding up and forcibly expelling more than 2,000 sub-Saharan African migrants from a range of countries to neighbouring Niger and Mali over the past three weeks, said Amnesty International. Those expelled include more than 300 minors, among them at least 25 unaccompanied children.

    The new wave of arrests started on 22 September when Algerian police and gendarmes began arbitrarily detaining migrants in the capital, Algiers, and neighbouring suburbs. Research by Amnesty International indicates they made arrests on the basis of racial profiling as they did not seek to ascertain whether the migrants had the right to stay in the country, either by checking their passports or other documents. Some of those arrested and deported are undocumented migrants, while others have valid visas.

    “There can be no justification for rounding up and forcibly deporting hundreds of people based on the colour of their skin or their assumed country of origin – a blatant case of mass racial profiling,” said Heba Morayef, North Africa Research Director at Amnesty International.

    May 18, 2016

    The Algerian authorities must end their relentless efforts to silence peaceful protesters, said Amnesty International ahead of the start of the trial tomorrow of four protesters from the southern city of Ouargla who are facing up to a year in prison for taking part in protests against unemployment in Algeria’s oil capital, Hassi Messaoud.

    Prominent activist Tahar Belabes, a member of the National Committee for the Defence of the Rights of the Unemployed (CNDDC), and three other CNDDC members have been charged with taking part in “unarmed gatherings” in 2015. If convicted, all four men could face up to a year in jail.

    “Imprisoning Tahar Belabes and his colleagues simply for taking part in peaceful protests would be an outrageous attack on the right to freedom of expression and assembly. Their only ‘crime’ appears to be that they stood up for the rights of the unemployed. They should not even be on trial – let alone facing a possible prison term. The charges against them should be dropped immediately,” said Magdalena Mughrabi, Deputy Director of the Middle East and North Africa Programme at Amnesty International.

    October 21, 2015

    The Algerian government must cease its relentless campaign of censorship of private broadcasters if it is going to live up to its pledge to uphold and strengthen media freedoms in the country, said Amnesty International as the country marks National Press Day on 22 October.

    Only last week police raided and shut down El Watan TV, confiscating equipment and escorting staff out of the station’s office in the capital Algiers after it broadcast an interview with a controversial government critic.

    In 2014 the government introduced restrictive licensing laws which have left many broadcasters in legal limbo operating under the constant threat of censorship.

    “The government’s repeated shutdowns of private TV stations that dare to criticize it, such as El Watan TV, is a clear and present danger to the survival of a free media in Algeria,” said Said Boumedouha, Amnesty International’s Director of North Africa and the Middle East.

    November 24, 2014

     
    On 25 November 2014, Amnesty International will mark the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women by launching a briefing on sexual and gender-based violence against women and girls in Algeria.

    The Algerian authorities took long overdue steps to address sexual and gender-based violence earlier this year when they adopted a decree to provide financial compensation for victims of sexual violence by armed groups in the 1990s internal conflict, during which hundreds – if not thousands – of women were abducted and raped. They have also proposed draft laws, which, if adopted, would make violence against a spouse and sexual harassment in public places criminal offences.

    However, Amnesty International believes the new measures do not go far enough and are symptomatic of a fragmented approach to sexual and gender-based violence.

    April 13, 2014

    Posted at 0001hrs GMT 14 April 2014

    •        Freedom of expression, association and assembly under threat with restrictions on protests, private TV station taken off air and NGOs in legal limbo
    •        International human rights groups and UN human rights experts barred
    •        Independent trade unions harassed amid social tensions and employment protests
    •        Laws fail to protect women from gender-based violence and criminal suspects from torture
    •        Failure to tackle pervasive impunity

    Mounting curbs on freedom of expression in the run-up to Algeria’s upcoming elections underscore disturbing shortcomings in the country’s overall human rights record, said Amnesty International in a new briefing published today.

    October 15, 2013

    The Algerian authorities must immediately release a blogger detained on terrorism and defamation charges after he shared photos and caricatures of the President and the Prime Minister on his Facebook account, Amnesty International said.

    The lawyer of 24-year-old blogger Abdelghani Aloui filed, on 13 October, a request for his release pending trial. A decision is expected this week.

    “The Algerian authorities appear to be trying to stifle criticism at a time of uncertainty ahead of presidential elections due next year. Abdelghani Aloui must be immediately released and all charges against him dropped,” said Philip Luther, Middle East and North Africa Director at Amnesty International.

    “The authorities are vastly overreacting to what is nothing more than legitimate expression. Using terrorism-related charges to detain someone for sharing images on social media sites sets a very dangerous precedent.”

    Abdelghani Aloui was arrested on 15 September and held in pre-arraignment detention for 10 days under Algerian criminal procedures, which allow terrorism suspects to be held for up to 12 days before seeing a magistrate.

    May 07, 2013

    The conviction of an activist in Algeria after he distributed leaflets about unemployment in the country is a worrying sign that a new law regulating associations is being used to restrict civil society groups’ activities, Amnesty International said.

    On 6 May, Abdelkader Kherba, a member of the Algerian League for the Defence of Human Rights (LADDH) and the National Committee for the Defence of the Rights of the Unemployed (CNDDC) was sentenced to a two-month suspended prison term and a fine of 20,000 Algerian dinars (about USD 250) for distributing leaflets on unemployment in Algeria in June 2011.

    He had been previously harassed by the authorities because of his work on behalf of unemployed people or in support of trade-unionists.

    “The latest court case against Abdelkader Kherba is yet another example of how the authorities in Algeria are misusing the law and the judicial system to intimidate those who advocate for social and economic rights,” said Ann Harrison, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa.

    April 25, 2013

    The UN Security Council’s failure to add human rights monitoring to the mandate of its Western Sahara peacekeeping force – despite ongoing reports of abuses in the region – is a “missed opportunity”, Amnesty International said today.

    The mandate of the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) – one of the few UN peacekeeping missions in the world without a human rights mandate – was renewed today.

    A US move to include a human rights component in the draft resolution under consideration by the Security Council was quashed after protests from the Moroccan government.

    “The Security Council has failed the people of Western Sahara and the Tindouf refugee camps by missing a unique opportunity to subject persistent human rights concerns there to sorely needed international scrutiny,” said Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Director, Philip Luther.

    March 26, 2013

    The Algerian authorities have prevented a delegation of 96 trade unionists and civil society activists from crossing the border into Tunisia to attend the World Social Forum this week, violating their right to freedom of movement, Amnesty International said today.

    The 96 have not been given any reason for the travel ban. Border police near the north-eastern city of Annaba told the delegates today that they were on a list of people banned from leaving Algeria because of “unrest”.
     
    “Placing travel restrictions on civil society activists is a blatant attempt to prevent them from meeting and discussing with fellow groups from all over the world, and in so doing to isolate them," said Ann Harrison, Amnesty International's Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa.

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