A state of emergency has existed in Algeria since February 1992. The government of Algeria has thus suspended basic human rights for almost 20 years, giving itself an open mandate to stifle freedom of association, assembly, and self-expression as well as to arrest and detain people without charge or trial.
From 1991 up through 1999, the Algerian people suffered throughout a protracted civil war. Many rebel groups disbanded and laid down their arms when the government offered amnesty in 1999. Since that time, no full, independent or impartial investigations have ever been carried out into the gross human rights abuses committed during this conflict (by government forces as well as rebel forces), including thousands of cases of civilians killed in targeted or indiscriminate attacks, extra judicial executions, torture, ill-treatment and "disappearances." Members of armed groups who surrendered to the authorities have continued to benefit from clemency or exemption from prosecution.
Algeria amended its penal code in 2004 to make torture an explicit crime, carrying severe penalties. However, the authorities have not generally investigated torture allegations. The U.N. Special Rapporteur on torture reported that the Algerian authorities had denied without investigation all allegations of torture submitted to them.
Women have continued to be subjected to considerable discrimination in law and practice. The Algerian Family Code, enacted in 1984, imposed many serious limitations on women's rights, including the right to equality before the law and the right of self-determination; in response, women's organizations have reinforced their campaigning activities for women's legal equality. These activities have been severely restricted due to the state of emergency. Meanwhile, authorities have not acted with due diligence to prevent, punish, and redress acts of sexual violence against women or domestic violence against women.