Algerian flag outside the Algerian embassy in China

A coalition of human rights organisations have called for Algerian authorities to end what they describe as an ‘assault on fundamental freedoms’. The call was made to coincide with a visit from the UN special rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly  and association – Clément Nyaletsossi Voule – to Algeria.

NGOs have argued that the Algerian government is currently cracking down on pro-democracy movements.

“The Algerian government is in the middle of a ruthless crackdown against the Algerian pro-democracy movement and anyone who is critical of the authorities,” said Nassera Dutour, President of the Coalition of Families of the Disappeared in Algeria. They added “It is imperative that UN experts, supported by the international community, stand up for those fighting for human rights in the country.”

A group of 15 human rights groups said that the UN special rapporteur’s visit provided an opportunity for the Algerian authorities to address the issues they’ve raised. They have also called for Algeria to release people imprisoned for peaceful activism, and allow civil society, trade unions and political parties to operate freely.

Algeria’s oldest human rights organisation – the Algerian League for the Defence of Human Rights – was dissolved by government authorities earlier this year. At least two political parties – the Socialist Workers’ Party and the Democratic and Social Movement – have been suspended, alongside two major independent media outlets – Radio M and Maghreb Emergent – being shut down.

“The Algerian authorities have gone to extreme lengths to suppress critical voices and close civic space,” said Aissa Rahmoune, Deputy president of the International Federation for the Defense of Human Rights, adding: “Prior to the Special Rapporteur’s visit, Algeria should release all prisoners of conscience and cease all prosecutions of activists and human rights defenders based on the exercise of their legitimate rights.”

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Image credit: Ming Xia – Creative Commons