Annual Report: Algeria 2010

Report
May 28, 2010

Annual Report: Algeria 2010

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  • Law enforcement officials prevented participants from gaining access to a private venue in Bachedjarah, Algiers, on 16 June to attend a conference organized by associations of families of the disappeared and victims of "terrorism".
  • The local authorities in Jijel did not respond to the application for registration deposited in May by the newly formed Association of Mich'al of Children of the Disappeared in Jijel, despite being obliged by law to do so within 60 days. Other associations of families of the disappeared active for years have not been able to legally register.

Migrants' rights

On 25 February, the President approved amendments to the Penal Code which, among other things, criminalized "illicit" exit from Algeria by using forged documents or travelling via locations other than official border exit ports, restricting freedom of movement and criminalizing migration. Such "illicit" exit was made punishable by prison terms of between two and six months and/or fines. Nonetheless, thousands of Algerians and other nationals sought to migrate irregularly to Europe from Algeria; hundreds, possibly many more, were intercepted at sea or while preparing to depart by boat, and the media reported that many people were tried and sentenced under the new "illicit" exit provisions.

No official statistics were available concerning the number of foreign nationals expelled from Algeria, but in its initial report to the UN Committee on Migrant Workers in June 2008, the government said that an average of 7,000 foreign nationals were turned back at the borders or expelled from Algeria annually. Many such expulsions are believed to be carried out without due process and without adequate safeguards.

Discrimination against women

On 15 July, Algeria lifted reservations to Article 9.2 of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), pertaining to equal rights of women in respect to the nationality of their children. Amendments to the Nationality Code in 2005 had already permitted Algerian women married to non-nationals to confer nationality on their children. A number of discriminatory provisions remain in the Family Code, particularly regarding marriage, divorce, child custody and inheritance – as reflected in Algeria’s continued reservation to several other articles of CEDAW.

Death penalty

More than 100 people were sentenced to death, but the authorities maintained the de facto moratorium on executions in force since 1993. The majority of sentences were imposed in terrorism-related trials, mostly in the absence of the accused, but some were imposed on defendants convicted of premeditated murder.

In June, the government's rejection of a bill to abolish the death penalty proposed by an opposition parliamentarian was made public.

Amnesty International reports

A legacy of impunity: A threat to Algeria’s future(30 March 2009)