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Geneva: Joint Communique On Worsening Human Rights Conditions in Algeria

Accredited NGOs, Human Rights protection associations, migration experts, undersigned academics, and human rights defenders, following the round table of November 14, 2022, organized at the Maison des Associations in Geneva, formulated the following recommendations relating to Algeria’s UPR:

At the end of Algeria’s UPR, NGOs, experts, and academics held the position that they:

* Remain seriously concerned about gross violations of human rights including the right to freedom of expression, peaceful assembly, right of association, and freedom of the press.

* And welcome the recommendations made by the States during the UPR of Algeria, held on November 11, 2022, and which related to:

* Violations of freedom of opinion and expression and freedom of the media;

* Practices relating to human trafficking and systematic violations of migrant rights;

* The non-compliance of the Algerian Human Rights Council with the Principles
espoused in Paris;

* The repeal of the amendments to article 87 of the Algerian Penal Code which contains a broad definition of terrorism;

* The non-compliance of Algerian legislation with conventions and
ratified international agreements;

* The ratification of certain international instruments, such as the International Convention
for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearances, the Optional Protocol to the Convention
against torture;

* The recruitment of children in the Tindouf camps and the need to cooperate with the Special Representative of the UN Secretary General for the fate of children in armed conflict;

* The devolution of military, administrative and judicial powers.

* Follow with concern the reprisals suffered by the 250 prisoners of conscience accused of terrorism;

* Remain deeply outraged by the mass expulsion of more than 17,000 migrants from the
sub-Sahara area;

* Note and place the responsibility on the Algerian army in respect of the increase in serious human rights violations in the Tindouf camps.

The 15 NGOs:

1) Urge Algeria to accept the recommendations of the States relating to the respect of freedom of expression, opinion, association, peaceful assembly and religion;

2) Call for the release of the 250 prisoners of conscience held under the
terrorism charges;

3) Urge the Algerian government to end systematic expulsion practices of migrants by abandoning them at “point zero” in the desert;

4) Ask Algeria, as a recently elected member of the Human Rights Council
human beings, to respect their international obligations by ratifying the Conventions and Protocols;

5) Call on the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to ensure respect for the civilian nature of the Tindouf camps and ensure the census of the population;

6) Invite the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) of the United Nations to establish rehabilitation programs for child soldiers in the Tindouf Camps and
benefit from specific protection measures against their exploitation by terrorist groups operating in the Sahel and Sahara region.

The reaction as contained in the communique above is a sequel to the seminar held in the Chamber of the UN in Geneva three days earlier. Among those who addressed that forum were Algerian human rights activist Oulid Kebir and the President of the Geneva International Observatory for Human Rights, Aicha Duihi.

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