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MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION on Situations of freedoms in Algeria

26.11.2019 - (2019/2927(RSP))

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 144 of the Rules of Procedure

Michael Gahler, Michaela Šojdrová, Tomáš Zdechovský, Ivan Štefanec, Eva Maydell, Vladimír Bilčík, Magdalena Adamowicz, Milan Zver, Isabel Wiseler‑Lima, Peter van Dalen, Željana Zovko, Roberta Metsola, Lefteris Christoforou, Loucas Fourlas, Tomas Tobé, Romana Tomc, Seán Kelly, David McAllister, Arba Kokalari, Stelios Kympouropoulos, Tomasz Frankowski, Sandra Kalniete, Esther de Lange, Loránt Vincze, Stanislav Polčák, Inese Vaidere, Jiří Pospíšil
on behalf of the PPE Group

See also joint motion for a resolution RC-B9-0193/2019

Postopek : 2019/2927(RSP)
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European Parliament resolution on Situations of freedoms in Algeria


The European Parliament,


-  having regard to its previous resolutions on Algeria, in particular on the Imprisonment of human and workers’ rights activist in Algeria of 30 April 2015 and to its resolution on ‘the post-Arab Spring: way forward for the MENA region’ of 27 March 2019,

-  having regard to the ‘EU Annual Report on Human Rights and Democracy in the World 2018 - Algeria’, adopted by the European Council on 18 March 2019,

-  having regard to Joint press release on the occasion of the 11th session of the EU-Algeria Association Council of 14 May 2018,

-  having regard to the Shared Partnership Priorities of the People's Democratic Republic of Algeria and the European Union under the revised European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) of 13 March 2017,

-  having regard to the European Commission/HRVP Joint Communication on the Review of the European Neighbourhood Policy of 18 November 2015 and to its resolution on the review of the European Neighbourhood Policy of 9 July 2015,

-  having regard to the EU-Algeria Association Agreement and notably to Article 2 which stipulates that respect for democratic principles and fundamental human rights is to inspire the domestic and international policies of the parties to it and shall constitute an essential element of that Agreement,

-  having regard to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948 and the UN Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and of Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief,

-  having regard to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights:

-  having regard to Article 54 of the Constitution of Algeria, wherein the right to create associations is guaranteed;

-  having regard to the Algerian law 12-06 relating to associations;

-  having regard to the European Union (EU) Guidelines on Freedom of Religion and Belief of 2013,

-  having regard to Article 48 of the Constitution of Algeria, wherein the freedom of association is guaranteed to the citizen,

-  having regard to Article 42 of the Constitution of Algeria, wherein the right to freedom of religion or belief is protected,

-  having regard to the European Parliament's Report on the EU Guidelines and the mandate of the EU Special Envoy on the promotion of freedom of religion or belief outside the EU (2018/2155(INI))

-  having regard to Ordinance 06-03 regulating non-Muslim religious worship,

-  having regard to Rule 144 of its Rules of Procedure,

  1. whereas Algeria is a key partner for the European Union within the framework of the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) with important political, economic and people-to-people interests in the country and in the region, whereas Algeria is a stabilizing factor and our bilateral relations have progressed positively in recent years and we expect them to continue in the same line;


  1. whereas under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which Algeria ratified, governments must ensure the right to freedom of religion, thought, and conscience of everyone under their jurisdiction, and in particular religious minorities, whereat this right includes the freedom to exercise the religion or belief of one’s choice publicly or privately, alone or with others;


  1. whereas, according to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, every person has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association, as well as freedom of religion or belief;


  1. whereas Algeria supported – amongst other recommendations - the recommendations made under the UPR 2017 to further strengthen laws and policies to protect the freedom of religion and belief, as well as the freedoms of expression, association and assembly and to take further measures to guarantee the rights to expression, assembly, association and belief;


  1. whereas the Algerian Constitution enshrines fundamental freedoms, including freedom of association, further defined by law 12-06; whereas law 12-06 requires every association, including those that had already successfully registered, to re–register and obtain a registration receipt from the Interior Ministry before they can operate legally;


  1. whereas, according to Open Doors International’s 2019 World Watch List, which details the countries where Christians are most persecuted, Algeria has risen 20 places from 42 to 22;


  1. whereas since January 2018 the Algerian authorities have closed down 18 churches, of which a vast majority are part of the EPA (Église Protestante d’Algérie), the legally recognised umbrella organisation of Protestant churches in Algeria, and whereas discrimination against churches, its members, as well as actions aimed at reduction the public space of churches, as well as its building and properties, have been increasing over the past months;


  1. whereas on 21st October 2019 the Minister of Interior threatened to close all “illegal” churches in Algeria, mentioning the number of 49 Churches, amounting to the number of protestant churches affiliated with the EPA;


  1. whereas the Protestant Association of Algeria (Église Protestante d'Algérie - EPA) - which was granted official recognition as a religious association in 1974 -  applied for re-registration in 2013 in accordance with the 2012 law; whereas in spite of meeting all legal requirements, to date the application is still pending;


  1. whereas the National Commission for Non-Muslim Religious Groups, which was established by a 2006 Ordinance to issue official permits to places of worship, until now has not issued a single permit;


  1. whereas the Algerian Constitution enshrines fundamental freedoms, including freedom of association, further defined by law 12-06; whereas law 12-06 requires every association, including those that had already successfully registered, to re–register and obtain a registration receipt from the Interior Ministry before they can operate legally;


  1. whereas authorities are prosecuting Ahmadis under the charges of participation in an unauthorized association; whereas authorities used the association law to deny registration to a charitable organization formed by members of the Ahmadi community;


  1. whereas Kamel Eddine Fekhar, a doctor and human rights and the Amazigh At-Mzab community defender, was arrested and imprisoned on 31 March 2019 in Ghardaya following the publication of an interview in which he denounced the segregationist treatment against the At-Mzab community; and whereas in order to protest what he considered arbitrary detention, he refused to eat and on whereas after 53 days of hunger strike, he died in prison on May 28, 2019;


  1. whereas a protest movement known as the Hirak in Arabic initially came together in February 2019 to oppose President Abdelaziz Bouteflika’s plan to seek a fifth term, and has maintained its momentum with huge demonstrations every Tuesday and  Friday calling for the ouster of the existing government and a more pluralistic and inclusive framework to prepare for free elections, as a part of the broader political transition;


  1. whereas president Bouteflika resigned on April 2, two weeks before a planned presidential election that was then postponed, and whereas Senate President Abdelkader Bensalah replaced him, and authorities set a new election for July 4, then postponed it again to December 12,


  1. whereas it is for the Algerians to decide for themselves, and among themselves, how to make this transition happen, whereas we should encourage a free, fair and inclusive election of Algeria's next president and support the call for the broader reform and transition process;


  1. whereas the EEAS 2018 Human Rights report stated that the space in Algeria for civil society activism remained limited, and challenges remained with regard to freedom of association and assembly;


  1. whereas  the  Algerian chamber of lawyers (Union Nationale des Ordres des Avocats, UNOA) unanimously denounced the arrests of activists of the Hirak and the suppression of freedoms; whereas on 24 October 2019 around 500 lawyers demonstrated in Algiers to ask for the rights of the defense to be respected,  and  called for an independence of the judiciary, whereas UNOA has put in place a committee to support the lawyers who defends opinion detained people;


  1. whereas according to the Algerian League for the Defence of Huma Rights (Ligue algérienne de défense des droits de l’Homme, LADDH ) more than a hundred people have been arrested and detained in connection to the peaceful protests since the begging of the Hirak on  22 February 2019; whereas the charges on which they are held such ‘undermining the integrity of the national unity and territory (‘atteinte à  l’unité nationale’; ‘atteinte à l’intégrité du territoire national’)’, ‘incitement to an unarmed gathering” (‘incitation à un rassemblement non armé’) and/or ‘weakening the morale of the army’ (‘atteinte à la morale de l'armée) are vague and violate international human rights standards;


  1. whereas  87-year old Lakhdar Bouregaa - prominent veteran of the war of independence  - was arrested on 23 June 2019 for criticizing the army and is held in detention despite frail health conditions following a surgery;


  1. whereas men in plain clothes arrested on 12 September without any warrant Karim Tabbou a leading opposition figure, former general secretary of the former opposition party the Socialist Forces Front and nowadays head of the unrecognised party Social and Democratic Union party; whereas Tabbou was released by the Kolea Tribunal on 27 September and less than 14 hours re-arrested in similar conditions; whereas he remains in custody under charges ‘contributing to the weakening of the morale of the army’ (‘entreprise de démoralisation de l’armée’);


  1. whereas several members of the Rassemblement Actions Jeunesse (RAJ) notably the founder Hakim Addad, the president Abdelouahab Fersaoui, and members Massinissa Aissous, Djalal Mokrani, Ahmed Bouider, Kamel Ouldouali, Karim Boutata, Ahcene Kadi, Wafi Tigrine and Khireddine Medjani were arrested during peaceful demonstrations in support of prisoners of conscience in Algeria and charged for ‘violation of national unity and integrity’ (‘atteinte à  l’unité nationale’; ‘atteinte à l’intégrité du territoire national’); whereas Fouad Ouicher and Saida Deffeur were arrested after a demonstration on 22 November, whereas other protesters such as Samir Belarbi and Fodil Boumala, remain detained and are being prosecuted for their involvement in the peaceful demonstrations;


  1. whereas on 11 November the court of Sidi M’hamed in Algiers opened the trial of 42 activists with the charge of ‘compromising the integrity of the national territory’ (‘atteinte à l’intégrité du territoire national’) according to article 79 of the penal code for rising up the Amazigh flag, which is as a symbol of national cultural heritage recognised in the Constitution; whereas this flag has been largely deployed together with the national flag in all over the country during the weekly demonstrations; whereas several Tribunals in the country have released demonstrators arrested under the same charged;


  1. Calls upon the Algerian authorities to protect freedom of association and freedom of religion or belief; reaffirms that these are universal human rights that need to be protected for everyone;


  1. Calls on the Algerian authorities to ensure and guarantee the respect to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly, and to take appropriate steps to ensure the safety and security of civil society activists and human rights defenders and their freedom to pursue their legitimate and peaceful activities;


  1. Calls for a stop to violations against the freedom of Christians, Ahmadis and other religious minorities to worship; Reminds the Algerian government that Ordinance 06-03 guarantees the free exercise of worship and encourages the Algerian government to apply it in accordance with the purpose of the law, namely to ensure respect for the free exercise of worship; encourages the Algerian government to revise Ordinance 06-03 to further bring it line with the Constitution and with its international human rights obligations, namely Article 18 of the ICCPR on freedom of religion and belief;


  1. Urges the Algerian authorities to reopen those church buildings arbitrarily closed and allow the Christians to have places of worship, and withdraw all warnings, closure orders and court cases against churches, and grant permission to all EPA-affiliated churches to continue to use rented premises as places of worship, and strongly urges the authorities to return to the EPA the historic church buildings which were confiscated by the authorities but for which the EPA has valid ownership documentation; further demands that the Algerian authorities process the Église Protestant d’Algérie re-registration application without delay, to accept this application and provide official documentation to confirm the EPA’s registration as the representative association of all Protestant churches in Algeria;


  1. Notes the fact that peaceful and civic expressions, calling for political and economic reforms, have been taking place in Algeria for the past nine months and expresses its trust in the capacity of the Algerian population and authorities to handle the situation peacefully and with the perspective of ensuring a sustainable outcome based on inclusive and constructive dialogue;
  2. Highlights that a strong and independent judiciary is one of fundamental elements for the functiong of a democracy and calls on the Algerian government to foster and ensure judiciary independence,
  3. Expresses nevertheless its deep concerns over a worrying trend of arbitrary arrests, attacks and intimidations of journalists, trade unionist, lawyers, students, human rights defenders and civil society and peaceful protesters that are taking part of Hirak_ftn1 peaceful demonstrations;
  4. Calls on the Algerian authorities to put an end to any form of intimidation, including judicial and legislative harassment, criminalisation, and arbitrary arrests and detention against peaceful protesters, human rights defenders, critical journalists, and bloggers,  which violate the rights to freedom of expressions, association or peaceful assembly which is  guaranteed by the Algerian Constitution and by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights;


  1. Calls upon all political stakeholders to do their utmost to ensure an environment conducive to free and fair elections which shall hence ensure a government clearly representing the will and interest of the Algerian people;


  1. Regrets the fact that the Algerian authorities have not asked for an EOM to be sent by the EU; calls upon the EU institutions to closely follow the election preparation as well as outcome;


  1. Underlines the importance of EU-Algeria relations with Algeria as an important neighbor and partner; recalls the importance of a strong and deep EU-Algerian relationship and reaffirms its commitment to foster these relations, based on full respect for common values such as respect for human rights, democracy, rule of law, and freedom of the media;  


  1. Calls on the EEAS, the Commission and the Member States to support civil society groups, human rights defenders, journalists and protesters including through arrangement of prison visits, trial monitoring and public statements, and the support of the UNOA commission;
  2. Instructs its President to forward this Resolution to the Commission, the Council, and the Vice-President of the Commission/High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the Government and the Parliament of Algeria.




Zadnja posodobitev: 26. november 2019
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