The United Nations has expressed concern over the deteriorating human rights situation in Algeria and urged the government to stop its ongoing systematic crackdown on anti-government protesters and activists of the Hirak movement. Condemning the actions taken by the government to suppress the protests, The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) urged the authorities to investigate the allegations of human rights violations against the protesters in an impartial manner.
In a statement released by the human rights office on Tuesday, May 11, the spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Rupert Colville said that “we are increasingly concerned about the situation in Algeria where the rights to freedom of opinion and expression, peaceful assembly and participation in public affairs continue to be under attack.” He added that since the demonstrations resumed in February this year, they received “sustained reports of unnecessary and disproportionate force against peaceful protesters, as well as continuing arrests.”
The UN also raised alarm at the fact that approximately 70 Algerians are still reportedly detained, some of whom are serving long prison sentences while others are in pre-trial detention. According to the statement, some of the protesters were detained and released after signing a document promising to cease participating in protests. There have also been allegations of physical and sexual violence in detention, as per the statement. The statement denounces these actions as blatant violations of their human rights as well as their civil and political rights to peacefully protest and criticize the government and its policies.
It additionally urges the government to review the relevant penal code — notably Law 12-06 and Law 91-9 on associations, and public meetings and demonstrations respectively — and bring them “into line with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, both of which have been ratified by Algeria.”