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Procedure : 2015/2665(RSP)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : B8-0424/2015

Texts tabled :

B8-0424/2015

Debates :

PV 30/04/2015 - 16.3
CRE 30/04/2015 - 16.3

Votes :

PV 30/04/2015 - 17.3
CRE 30/04/2015 - 17.3

Texts adopted :

P8_TA(2015)0188

MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION
PDF 148kWORD 66k
See also joint motion for a resolution RC-B8-0418/2015
28.4.2015
PE555.198v01-00
 
B8-0424/2015

with request for inclusion in the agenda for a debate on cases of breaches of human rights, democracy and the rule of law

pursuant to Rule 135 of the Rules of Procedure


on the Imprisonment of Workers and Human Rights Activists in Algeria (2015/2665(RSP))


Ana Gomes, Victor Boștinaru, Josef Weidenholzer, Richard Howitt, Marlene Mizzi, Nicola Caputo, Alessia Maria Mosca, Enrico Gasbarra, Nikos Androulakis, Demetris Papadakis, José Blanco López, Liisa Jaakonsaari, Andi Cristea, Miroslav Poche, Krystyna Łybacka, Neena Gill, Viorica Dăncilă, Victor Negrescu, Biljana Borzan, Michela Giuffrida, Tonino Picula, Jutta Steinruck, Julie Ward, Sorin Moisă, Tibor Szanyi, Nicola Danti, Vilija Blinkevičiūtė, Goffredo Maria Bettini, Siôn Simon, Jeppe Kofod, Hugues Bayet, Zigmantas Balčytis, Marc Tarabella, Claudia Tapardel, Doru-Claudian Frunzulică, Lidia Joanna Geringer de Oedenberg, Eric Andrieu, István Ujhelyi, Damiano Zoffoli, Kashetu Kyenge, Momchil Nekov, Maria Grapini, Javi López, Eider Gardiazabal Rubial, Miapetra Kumpula-Natri, Afzal Khan, Gilles Pargneaux on behalf of the S&D Group
NB: This motion for a resolution is available in the original language only.

European Parliament resolution on the Imprisonment of Workers and Human Rights Activists in Algeria (2015/2665(RSP))  
B8‑0424/2015

The European Parliament,

- having regard to its previous resolutions on Algeria, in particular those of 9 June 2005 concerning Freedom of the Press in Algeria and of 10 October 2002 on the conclusion of an association agreement with Algeria,

 

- having regard to its resolution on the Annual Report on Human Rights and Democracy in the World 2013 and the European Union's Policy on the Matter of 12 March 2015, and on the European Neighbourhood Policy, Working towards a Stronger Partnership: EP's Position on the 2012 Progress Reports of 23 October 2013,

 

- having regard to the statement of the European Union following the eighth meeting of the EU-Algeria Association Council of 13 May 2014,

 

- having regard to the Joint Communication from the European Commission and the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (HR/VP) to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions on Delivering on a new European Neighbourhood Policy of 15 May 2012,

 

- having regard to the EU-Algeria Association Agreement that entered into force on 1 September 2005, in particular to Article 2,

- having regard to the Constitution of Algeria, and in particular Articles 34-36, 39, 41, 43,

 

- having regard to the final report released by the EU Election Observation Mission to the parliamentary elections in Algeria of 5 August 2012,

 

- having regard to the EU Guidelines on Human Rights Defenders,

 

-  having regard to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948,

 

- having regard to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights,

 

- having regard to the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Convention no. 87 on the Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organise of 1978 and no. 98 on the Right to Organise and Collective Bargaining Convention of 1949,

 

A. whereas human rights defenders, including labour rights activists, especially in the Southern regions of Algeria in the past four years and with renewed intensity since the beginning of 2015, have been regularly threatened, verbally abused, and subject to ill-treatments and judicial harassment in a context of escalating economic, social and environmental protests;

B. whereas in January 2015 in the town of Laghouat, nine labour rights activists, members of National Committee for the Defence of the Rights of the Unemployed (CNDDC), were arrested on apparently politically motivated charges and then condemned to prison with sentences that were partially suspended and fines to pay for “unauthorized/ illegal gathering” and “exercising pressure on the decisions of magistrates”, and/or “assaulting a security force agent in the exercise of his duties";

C. whereas in March 2015 two other labour rights activists, members of the CNDDC in the town of El Oued, have been arrested and charged for instigating a gathering after being finally acquitted, and in addition, Rachid Aouine, a human rights activist, was sentenced by the El Oued Court of Appeal on 15 April 2015 to four months in prison and to a fine of 20,000 Algerians dinars for “inciting to an unarmed gathering” after he posted a sarcastic comment on Facebook urging the police to stand up for their rights instead of repressing the demonstrators; whereas Youssef Sultani, member of the CNDDC, has been facing a trial for “inciting a gathering” to participate in a peaceful gathering in solidarity with Rachid Aouine and his family members on 3 March 2015;

D. whereas although the state of emergency has been lifted in February 2011, restrictions in law and practice on peaceful assemblies have remained in place, in particular a decree dated 18 June 2001 still prohibits public demonstrations in the city of Algiers and Law no. 91-19 of 2 December 1991 on public meetings and demonstrations that submits any public event to prior authorisation;

E. whereas according to Articles 99 and 100 of the Algerian Penal Code those taking part in unauthorised demonstrations can be prosecuted and risk prison sentences ranging from two months to five years;

F. whereas a new Law on Associations no.12-06 imposes further restrictions on non-governmental organizations and civil society groups’ activities on their registration process and on their access to foreign funding; whereas this new law criminalies freedom of association by subjecting members of unregistered, suspended or dissolved associations to six months of imprisonment and a heavy fine;

 

G. whereas Law no. 90-14 of 2 June 1990 on the conditions for exercising trade-union rights allows workers to form unions by notifying the authorities in writing, without seeking permission; whereas after 30 days, authorities are supposed to issue the union final registration receipt; whereas authorities have refused in several cases to issue a receipt, without which unions cannot legally represent workers;

1. Calls for the release of Rachid Aouine, Mohamed Rag, Khencha Belkacem, Brahimi Belelmi, Mazouzi Benallal, Azzouzi Boubakeur, Korini Belkacem, Bekouider Faouzi, Bensarkha Tahar and Djaballah Abdelkader,

 

2.  Asks the Algerian authorities to put an end to all forms of judicial harassment and intimidation against labour rights activists and human rights defenders,

 

3. Stresses that respecting labour rights means letting workers organise unions and conduct union business without government interference; reminds that administrative manoeuvres must not be designed to withhold legal status from independent unions that attempt to operate outside of the existing trade union organisation;

 

4. Asks the Algerian authorities to amend the legislative provisions that prevent workers' organisations, irrespective of the sector to which they belong, from forming federations and confederations of their own choosing; stresses that legal requirements must not constitute such an obstacle to the establishment of an organisation that they amount in practice to outright to prohibition;

 

5. Recalls that Algeria is bound by Article 2 of the Association Agreement, which stipulates that respect for the democratic principles and fundamental human rights is an essential element of this Agreement, by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), by the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and by the International Covenant on Economic Social and Culture Rights (ICESCR), and therefore, has an obligation to respect universal human rights, including freedom of assembly and association;

 

6. Calls on the Algerian authorities to conduct prompt, impartial and independent investigations into all allegations of excessive or unnecessary use of force, torture, ill-treatments and other human rights violations by law enforcement agents during protests in order to bring to justice those responsible and grant redress to the victims;

 

7. Expresses grave concern about the ongoing restrictions of fundamental rights, notably freedoms of expression, association and assembly in Algeria and urges Algerian authorities to put an end to the crackdown on peaceful public protests as well as to arbitrary arrests and judicial harassments against all those exercising their right to peaceful assembly;

 

8. Calls on the Algerian government to revoke the 18 June 2001 decree banning peaceful protests and all forms of public demonstrations, and to engage in a genuine dialogue with civil society organisations in order to elaborate a new law that is in conformity with international human rights standards and the Algerian Constitution;

 

9. Urges the Algerian authorities to allow UN human rights experts and international human rights nongovernmental organisations to visit the country, in particular by promptly facilitating their requests to visit, by issuing and honouring standing invitations, , by granting visas without delay to representatives of international human rights organisations whichask to visit Algeria, and by acting promptly on their recommendations and communications;

10. Calls on the European External Action Service (EEAS) to set up clear benchmarks and indicators to monitor the EU objectives and assess progress in the field of human rights, impunity, freedoms of association, assembly and expression, rule of law, and the situation of human rights defenders in Algeria;

 

11. Stresses the importance of including in the EU-Algeria Action Plan a chapter related to human rights, to make progress de jure and de facto in the promotion and protection of human rights in close cooperation with the civil society; notes that specific human rights objectives should be adopted in the EU Algeria Action Plan, combined with a schedule for reforms to be undertaken by Algeria in the short term, involving the civil society in a constructive manner;

 

12. Calls on the EEAS and EU Member States to closely monitor all trials and judicial proceedings against human rights defenders and labour rights activists, in accordance with the EU Guidelines on human rights defenders, through the presence of representatives of the EU delegation and embassies of EU Member States in Algiers, and to report on the matter to the European Parliament;

 

13. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the Vice-President of the Commission/High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the EU Special Representative for Human Rights, the EU Delegation in Algiers, the Government of Algeria, the UN Secretary-General and the UN Human Rights Council.

 

Legal notice