Human Rights: Algeria under Fire

alg-dh-hrw-angAlgerian authorities continue to be under the fire of international NGOs because of the human rights violations being committed in the country, in addition to the fact that they refuse human rights advocates’ access to the Algerian territory.
Five international organizations including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch (HRW) denounced the blackout policy that has been followed by Algerian officials for several years. Philip Luther, Amnesty International’s Director for the Middle East and North Africa deems Algiers’ attitude incomprehensible.
Algerian authorities “have not accepted that the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture and the Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances visit the country despite their repeated requests,” he said.
In a joint letter to the Algerian government that was made public in Geneva the five international NGOs which also include the International Federation for Human Rights and the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network have condemned Algeria’s repeated refusal to comply with their requests. The NGOs have harshly criticized Algerian authorities for having refused for so many years to deliver entry visas to human rights NGOs and for the hurdles they erect to hamper activities of local human rights militants.
Eric Goldstein, HRW deputy director for the MENA region said in the same vein that “Algeria is the only country in the region that imposes such restrictions on human rights organizations whereas we visit regularly Morocco, Libya and Tunisia unhindered in general.” The letter signatories denounced Algerian authorities’ inconsistent attitude and their opposition to have their own human rights record reviewed although the country is member of the UN Human Rights Council.
Observers explain this deliberate policy of opacity by Algerian generals’ fear to see international NGOs snoop in particularly embarrassing cases. Two of these cases in particular torment the army senior officers: the thousands of people who disappeared during the civil war of the 90s and whose fate is still unknown and the situation in the Tindouf camps controlled by the Algeria-backed Polisario front claiming the Western Sahara independence.