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Procedure : 2020/2880(RSP)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : B9-0377/2020

Texts tabled :

B9-0377/2020

Debates :

PV 26/11/2020 - 8.1
CRE 26/11/2020 - 8.1

Votes :

Texts adopted :

P9_TA(2020)0329

<Date>{24/11/2020}24.11.2020</Date>
<NoDocSe>B9‑0377/2020</NoDocSe>
PDF 149kWORD 51k

<TitreType>MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION</TitreType>

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

<TitreRecueil>pursuant to Rule 144 of the Rules of Procedure</TitreRecueil>


<Titre>on the deteriorating situation of human rights in Algeria, in particular the case of Khaled Drareni</Titre>

<DocRef>(2020/2880(RSP))</DocRef>


<RepeatBlock-By><Depute>Salima Yenbou, Francisco Guerreiro, Tineke Strik, Bronis Ropė, Hannah Neumann, Mounir Satouri, Jordi Solé</Depute>

<Commission>{Verts/ALE}on behalf of the Verts/ALE Group</Commission>

</RepeatBlock-By>

See also joint motion for a resolution RC-B9-0375/2020
NB: This motion for a resolution is available in the original language only.

B9‑0377/2020

European Parliament resolution on the deteriorating situation of human rights in Algeria, in particular the case of Khaled Drareni

(2020/2880(RSP))

The European Parliament,

-  having regard to its previous resolutions on Algeria, in particular that of 28 November 2019 on the situation of freedoms in Algeria, and of 30 April 2015 on the imprisonment of workers and human rights activists in Algeria,

-  having regard to the shared partnership priorities adopted under the revised European neighbourhood policy by Algeria and the European Union on 13 March 2017,

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

-  having regard to the EU Guidelines on human rights defenders, on torture and ill-treatment and on freedom of expression online and offline,

-  having regard to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenants on Civil and Political Rights and on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights,

-  having regard to the third Universal Periodic Review (UPR) on Algeria, adopted by the UN Human Rights Council at its 36th session on 21 and 22 September 2017,

-  having regard to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights,

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

  1. Whereas on 16 February 2019, ten days after President Abdelaziz Bouteflika announced his candidacy for a fifth presidential term, peaceful protests known as the Hirak (Movement) erupted across Algeria; whereas on 2 April 2019 President Bouteflika resigned and former Prime Minister Abdelmadjid Tebboune was elected Head of State as a result of elections held on 2 December 2019, which were boycotted by the Hirak and witnessed a very low turn-out; whereas it was reported by civil society organisations that the month preceding the election was marked by a crackdown against peaceful protesters and activists;
  2. whereas the key demands of the Hirak, a movement of unprecedented mass mobilization and duration across the country, include an end to corruption and a more pluralistic and inclusive framework to prepare for free elections, as part of the broader political transition, and the denunciation of the lack of opportunities for political participation, high unemployment rates and the repression of demonstrations;
  3. whereas the Algerian authorities initiated a constitutional revision that was approved by a  referendum on 1 November 2020; whereas the constitutional revision faced strong criticism by the Hirak and the referendum resulted in an historically low turnout rate of 23.7%;
  4. whereas a number of concerns have been raised with regards to the constitutional reform, in particular with the introduction of Article 30 which constitutionalises the political role and powers of the army and Article 34 that introduces criteria for restrictions that can be imposed on rights and freedoms; whereas the constitutional reform also maintains the dominance of the Presidency over all institutions including the judiciary;
  5. whereas the Covid-19 pandemic has exacerbated the deteriorating human rights situation in Algeria and has seen the adoption of further restrictive legislation, including of the Penal Code, and led to the voluntary suspension of the Hirak demonstrations in March; whereas in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic, several Hirak activists, human rights defenders and journalists covering the protests have been facing increased government repression such as intensified harassment, arbitrary prosecution, arrests and detentions as well as fabricated charges for their role in the protest movement;
  6. whereas the National Committee for the Release of Detainees (CNLD) and other local civil society organisations report that at least 88 individuals were arbitrarily detained as of 17 November 2020, up from 44 in late August, and a number of them are in pre-trial detention for an indefinite duration;
  7. whereas in 2020 Algeria ranked 146th in the World Press Freedom Index by Reporters without Borders; whereas journalists covering the Hirak protests are regularly detained for questioning, placed in police custody or even jailed for extended periods; whereas at least nine news sites have been blocked by the authorities;
  8. whereas journalist Khaled Drareni, founder of the Casbah Tribune website and correspondent in Algeria for the international French-speaking channel TV5 Monde, was arrested by police while covering peaceful demonstrations in Algiers on 7 March 2020; whereas he was held in police custody for four days, without having the possibility to contact his lawyers or to have legal assistance during his interrogation by the police, nor to challenge the legality of his detention;
  9. whereas on 10 March 2020, Mr Drareni was charged with the accusation of incitement to unlawful assembly and undermining national unity; whereas he was subsequently accused of criticizing the political system on social media and of publishing a statement by a coalition of political parties in favour of a general strike; whereas on 10 August 2020, Mr Drareni was sentenced to three years imprisonment; whereas in September 2020, he was sentenced on appeal to two years in prison;
  10. whereas between 30 March 2020 and 27 August 2020, the Algerian government received four communications through the UN Special Procedures system concerning arbitrary detentions, the lack of judicial independence and impartiality, limits on freedom of the press and restrictions on the freedom of assembly and association, reprisals against peaceful protestors, activists, human rights defenders and journalists including the case of Khaled Drareni as well as refoulement of migrants; whereas on 16 September, UN human rights experts condemned the prison sentence of Khaled Drareni and called on Algerian authorities to overturn the sentence and release Mr Drareni from prison as well as to halt the arrest and detention of political activists, lawyers, journalists, and human rights defenders, as well as any person who expresses dissent or criticism of the government;
  11. whereas human rights defenders are repeatedly harassed by the authorities, including Kaddour Chouicha, a member of the Algerian League for the Defence of Human Rights (LADDH) and a trade unionist, already imprisoned several times in 2019, as well as his wife, the journalist and human rights defender Jamila Loukil; whereas both are summoned to appear for trial on 30 November 2020 for their peaceful activism and journalism work;
  12. whereas it was reported by civil society and humanitarian organizations that, since early September, Algerian authorities expelled over 3,400 migrants of at least 20 nationalities to Niger, including 430 children and 240 women; whereas in October 2020 Algeria’s interior minister announced a new operation to combat “illegal migration”;
  13. whereas since the beginning of 2020, forty-one femicides have been recorded by activists, notably Feminicides-dz; whereas this figure is considered  underestimated due to the lack of official statistics; whereas in 2020 women rights’ movements have intensified their denunciation of the increasing violence against women and the number of femicides as well as calling for the review of existing laws, especially the Family Code and a number of articles of the Penal Code, in order to guarantee full equality between women and men;
  14. whereas under the European Neighbourhood Instrument, the EU bilateral assistance for the period 2018-2020 to Algeria amounts to €125 million in the three priority sectors of economic governance and support to diversification of the economy; territorial development and participatory democracy; energy/environment and climate actions;

 

  1. Expresses alarm at the steady deterioration of the human rights situation in Algeria, particularly the escalation of arbitrary and unlawful arrests, detention, intimidation and judicial harassment of journalists, human rights defenders, civil society activists, trade unionists, lawyers, students, as well as of peaceful protestors of the Hirak movement;

 

  1. Calls on the Algerian authorities to immediately and unconditionally release and/or acquit all individuals detained or sentenced for exercising their rights to freedom of expression, assembly, or association, notably Khaled Drareni, Abdelkrim Zeghileche, Yacine Mebarki, Brahim Laalami, Abdallah Benaoum, Walid Kechida, Aissa Chouha, Zoheir Kaddam, Walid Nekkiche, Mohamed Tadjadit and co-defendant Nourredine Khimoud, Hakim Addad and Karim Tabbou; calls also on the Algerian authorities to drop all charges against journalists and human rights defenders Said Boudour and Mustafa Bendjama, and activist Amira Bouraoui;

 

  1. Calls on the Algerian authorities to ensure and guarantee the rights to freedom of expression, association, peaceful assembly and media freedom, which are guaranteed by the Algerian Constitution and by the international human rights instruments, of which Algeria is a signatory; urges the Algerian government to allow international human rights organizations and UN Special Procedures access to the country;

 

  1. Expresses its support to all human rights defenders in Algeria who continue to carry out their legitimate and peaceful human rights work despite the challenging environment; calls on the Algerian authorities to put an end to any form of intimidation, including judicial and legislative harassment, criminalization, and arbitrary arrests and detention, against peaceful protesters, human rights defenders, journalists and bloggers, and to take immediate and effective steps to ensure their physical and psychological protection and the freedom to pursue their legitimate and peaceful activities;

 

  1. Expresses its full solidarity with the Hirak movement and the many Algerian citizens who have been peacefully demonstrating since February 2019 to demand a civilian and democratic state, social justice as well as respect for the rule of law;

 

  1. Regrets the lack of inclusivity and transparency of the recent constitutional revision process; expresses strong concern about the criticism expressed by Algerian observers that the constitutional amendments pose serious risks to fundamental freedoms, the independence of the judiciary, and prevent civilian and democratic oversight over the executive authorities and the military;

 

  1. Is convinced that democratic reforms and a constructive and inclusive dialogue are the necessary requirements for political, economic and social stability in Algeria, which in turn will lay the ground for positive regional dynamics and heightened cooperation between the EU and its important Algerian partner;

 

  1. Praises and supports the Algerian lawyers and other legal practitioners who persist in seeking to uphold the highest standards of justice in spite of the context and the risks entailed; highlights that an independent judiciary is one of the foundational elements for the functioning of any democracy and calls on the Algerian authorities to foster and ensure judiciary independence;

 

  1. Urges the Algerian authorities to halt all arbitrary arrests, detention, and collective expulsions of migrants and asylum seekers to Niger and Mali; to ensure individual verification of immigration or asylum status and court reviews before initiating any removal proceedings; to eliminate and prevent any excessive use of force, separation of children from their families, or other abuses against migrants by law enforcement personnel during arrests and detention; and to develop policies and systems for the individualized, fair, and legal processing of both asylum seekers and irregular migrants;

 

  1. Welcomes the constitutional recognition of Tamazight as an official language in 2016 and encourages its practical implementation; calls for the immediate and unconditional release of all protestors still detained for brandishing the Amazigh flag;

 

  1. Regrets the lack of follow-up and the inadequate transparency and communication by the European External Action Service towards the Parliament since the adoption of the last resolution on Algeria in 2019; calls on the European External Action Service, the Commission and the Member States to step up their support to human rights defenders, journalists, activists and protesters, including by arranging prison visits, monitoring trials and issuing public statements also explicitly condemning human rights violations, and to closely monitor the human rights situation in Algeria including outside the capital, using all available instruments and channels, including the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights;

 

  1. Calls on the EU delegation in Algiers to press the Algerian authorities to provide clarification on the grounds for the detention and conviction of Mr Drareni, and information on the conditions of detention of all other individuals arbitrarily detained;

 

  1. Notes with concern that, recent EU-funded training to police forces in several countries of North Africa, including Algeria, would reportedly have included training by the EU Agency for Law Enforcement Training (CEPOL)  in surveillance techniques including harvesting data from social media sites and mobile phones, as well as the creation of fake online identities which have been linked to the spread of disinformation; calls on the EEAS to provide full clarity on the scope and content of the EU-funded training to security and police forces in Algeria and in the region, as well as to inform the Parliament on the risk assessments and due diligence carried out by the EU and the existing human rights safeguards under the use of these funds; 

 

  1. Expects the EU to place the situation of human rights at the heart of its engagement with the Algerian authorities, notably during the forthcoming EU-Algeria Association Council; presses the EEAS to draw up and deliver a list of individual cases of particular concern, including those mentioned in this resolution, and to regularly report back to Parliament on progress towards resolving these cases;

 

  1. Insists on the importance of dialogue and cooperation between the EU and Algeria and calls in this regard for the swift start of the work of the EU-Algeria Joint Parliamentary Committee;

 

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

 

 

 

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