Amnesty International Protests Against the Repression Prevailing in Algeria

By IndepthAfrica
In Algeria
Jan 4th, 2013
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The international human rights “Amnesty International”, based in London, has rebelled Friday against “the crackdown on social and economic rights” in Algeria.  Recalling the arrest on January 2 in the region of Ouargla of an activist for the rights of the unemployed, Amnesty noted that the Algerian authorities have increasingly resorted to accusations like “incitement to rally” ( an offense punishable by five years imprisonment) “against persons who exercise their legitimate right to peaceful assembly.”

“The Algerian authorities must not detain or prosecute peaceful protesters,” said Philip Luther, AI’s director for the Middle East and North Africa.

Reporting on an increase in cases of “judicial harassment in Algeria,” Mr. Luther denounced the Algerian authorities ‘attempts’ to intimidate activists and demonstrators who are campaigning against the unemployed youth who are demonstrating against unemployment and poverty ” .

“Despite the lifting of the state of emergency in 2011, restrictions on the rights to freedom of assembly and expression are still in place,” he said.

In addition, Amnesty noted that Algeria has experienced during the past two years, a significant increase in protests against poverty, corruption and Unemployment.

Despite the lifting of the state of emergency in 2011, in the context of the Arab Spring, the Algerian government continued to ban demonstrations in the capital and introduced new laws restricting the media and NGOs, said Amnesty, adding that the Algerian associations of civil society and human rights activists continue to suffer threats and harassment by the authorities.

 

In September 2012 and during  three -day-visit the United Nations human rights chief urged the Government of Algeria to reconsider restrictions and impediments being placed in the way of civil society organizations in the North African nation.

“While recognizing that the driving force behind this state of affairs is rooted in security concerns, I encourage the Government to review the laws and practices relating to civil society organizations and freedom of assembly, and also to order all security forces to refrain from violating internationally recognized instruments guaranteeing the right to freedom of association,” the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay said.

Under Algerian law, demonstrations require prior approval from the Wilaya (governorate). In practice, organizers of demonstrations often proceed without applying for a permit since permits are almost never granted for demonstrations that might be considered critical of the government. Even when organizers do apply for a permit,  the response is repression.

 

Said Temsamani

 

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