Algeria to the Council on Human Rights: The rejection of the recommendations « unfortunate »

Algeria to the Council on Human Rights: The rejection of the recommendations « unfortunate »

Alkarama for Human Rights, June 11, 2008

The Human Rights Council adopted the final report on Algeria under the Universal Periodic Review on June 10, 2008. Alkarama had submitted a report to express its concerns regarding the lack of respect for human rights in this country.

Alkarama had also published on April 17, 2008 a communiqué to express its regret to see that most Council members have given so little importance to the serious violations committed in Algeria and accordingly, have been very cautious in their recommendations. In an address to the Plenary, which under regulations could not last more than 2 minutes, Mr. Rachid Mesli spoke on behalf of the Arab Commission for Human Rights and Alkarama to recall the recommendations that Algeria has not supported.

Justifying the rejection of the recommendations, Mr. Idriss Jazaïri, Permanent Representative and Head of the Algerian delegation, addressed comments to those asking that sections of the Ordinance on National Reconciliation which codify impunity should be amended: « What legitimacy do these NGOs claim for them to challenge the sovereign choice of millions of Algerians who are the only and exclusive source of legitimacy. (…) After so much hardship, suffering and tears, how could the right to peace be a threat? « Then, abandoning any diplomatic convenience, he insisted that this situation only benefits the « merchants of death, the followers of crime, the virtuosos of subversion, in sum, the sponsors of terrorism and those that feed the reservoir of the tragedy of others. « 

We recall that the Human Rights Committee and the Committee against Torture have sent recommendations to the State of Algeria including the amendment of the Articles of the Ordinance which provide that « no prosecution may be commenced, either individually or collectively, against elements of the defence and security forces »(Article 45) and that any “denunciation of crimes committed by them is punishable by a sentence of five years’ imprisonment” (Article 46).

Intervention by Rachid Mesli

Mr. President,

With Alkarama for Human Rights, we outlined the same concerns raised recently before the Committee on Human Rights and to the Committee against Torture.

We regret that the most important recommendations of this Honourable Assembly and the treaty monitoring bodies have not gained the support of Algeria.

Despite these recommendations, such as field visits by UN rapporteurs, the Algerian government believes that this is « anecdotal problems » (§ 67 of the Report).

Mr. President,

Enforced disappearances, torture and summary executions are neither casual nor anecdotal, but crimes against humanity, because of their widespread and systematic nature.

The ratification of the Rome Treaty is particularly important to put an end to impunity enshrined in the Ordnance of the executive power.

Articles 45 and 46 of the ordnance provide an amnesty for crimes committed by the security services, prohibit the rights of victims to justice and punish by more than 5 years in prison any denunciation of these crimes. The victims, families of disappeared persons, journalists and defenders are therefore liable to imprisonment.

The abrogation of these two provisions which violate international law has not been conceded by the Algerian government.

On another level, nothing should justify maintaining the state of emergency and the exorbitant powers granted to military intelligence services (DRS). This is the situation which resulted from the cancelling of the electoral process of 1992, causing 200 000 deaths and more than 10 000 disappearances.

The mechanism of UPR should not be a false door to reality and be consistent with the findings of Treaty monitoring bodies and special procedures.

This is not just for the Human Rights Council’s credibility but also for the entire system of protection of human rights in the United Nations.
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