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Procedure : 2020/2880(RSP)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : B9-0380/2020

Texts tabled :

B9-0380/2020

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>B9‑0380/2020</NoDocSe>
PDF 147kWORD 46k

<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 journalist Khaled Drareni</Titre>

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


<RepeatBlock-By><Depute>Karin Karlsbro, Izaskun Bilbao Barandica, Dita Charanzová, Olivier Chastel, Bernard Guetta, Svenja Hahn, Moritz Körner, Ilhan Kyuchyuk, Javier Nart, Nicolae Ştefănuță, Hilde Vautmans</Depute>

<Commission>{Renew}on behalf of the Renew 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.

B9‑0380/2020

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

(2020/2880(RSP))

The European Parliament,

 

-  having regard to its previous resolutions on Algeria and in particular its resolution of 27 November 2019 on the situation of freedoms in Algeria and of 30 April 2015 on the imprisonment of workers and human rights activists;

-  having regard to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) and the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, all three ratified by EU Member States and Algeria on 12 September 1989;

 

-  having regard to the EU Strategic Framework and Action Plan on Human Rights, which puts the protection and promotion of human rights at the heart of all EU policies;

 

-  having regard to the EU-Algeria Association Agreement and in particular Article 2, which states that respect for democratic principles and fundamental human rights must constitute an essential element of the agreement;

-  having regard to the EU-Algeria Association Council of 13 March 2017 which prioritised more EU support for democracy and human rights in Algeria alongside its constitutional revision;

 

-  having regard to the Council Conclusions of 19 November 2020 on the EU Action Plan 2020-2024, in particular its EU human rights defenders protection mechanism to support journalists and media workers;

 

-  having regard to the EU Guidelines on the Death Penalty, Torture, Freedom of Expression and Human Rights Defenders;

 

-  having regard to the four communications sent to the Algerian government by the Special Procedures of the UN Human Rights Council on arbitrary and violent arrests, unfair trials and reprisals against human rights defenders and peaceful activists, between 30 March and 16 September 2020;

 

-  having regard to the statement of the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy on the occasion of the World Press Freedom Day of 3 May 2020;

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Whereas since February 2019 Algeria has experienced a wave of peaceful protests unseen in recent history; whereas this peaceful movement (Hirak) has been calling for a civic state, an independent justice, democratic reforms and transparency to end corruption; whereas this popular movement has united Algeria’s rich and diverse society, beyond any ethnic, linguistic or social divide; whereas popular demands for reform have not rescinded despite the effects of the Covid19 pandemic in 2020 on street protests;
  2. Whereas the November 1 2020 referendum on the new Algerian Constitution resulted in Algeria’s lowest turnout since its independence in 1962 with an officially reported 23.7% turnout; whereas the new Constitution was officially approved by 66.8% of voters;
  3. Whereas Algerian authorities have stepped up repression against peaceful members of the movement since the beginning of the Hirak movement, arresting and detaining citizens in violation of their fundamental rights to a fair trial and due process of law; whereas documented examples of mounting repression are by the hundreds, with over 90 Algerian citizens currently in detention for peacefully expressing their political views on social media or in street protests;
  4. Whereas such violations include the sentencing to 10 years in prison of Yacine Mebarki for criticizing Algerian authorities on social media, the arbitrary imprisonment of poet Mohamed Tadjadit without charge since August 23, the sentencing to a one-year suspended prison sentence and a fine of 20,000 dinars for 21-year-old blogger Abeldhamid Amid for drawing a cartoon of Algeria’s political leaders ;
  5. Whereas Algerian authorities have released a number of detainees since the beginning of the Hirak movement, including amongst others Karim Tabbou, Mustafa Bendjema, and Khaled Tazaghart;
  6. Whereas Algeria’s ranking in the 2020 World Press Freedom Index is 146th out of 180 countries, 5 positions lower than in 2019 and 27 lower than in 2015;
  7. Whereas article 54 of Algeria’s new Constitution guarantees freedom of “print, broadcast and social media” yet limits this freedom to “the law and respect for the Nation’s religious, moral and cultural characteristics and values”; whereas such wording contradicts Algeria’s international commitments, including Algeria’s ratification of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, whose United Nations Human Rights Committee’s General Comment number 34 declares that “no media outlets can be penalized for criticizing a political or social system”;
  8. Whereas Algerian authorities launched a smear campaign against journalist Khaled Drareni; whereas he covered the Hirak protests as editor of Algerian news outlet Casbah Tribune, correspondent to channel TV5 Monde and correspondent to Reporters Without Borders as a professional journalist with fifteen years of experience; whereas he was ordered by security officials to stop covering the protests; whereas he was arrested on February 28 and released on March 10 2020; whereas he was again arrested on March 27 and sentenced to two years in prison on September 15, 2020 for “inciting unarmed gatherings and harming the integrity of the national territory”; whereas the only evidence used in court against him were a Facebook post he wrote criticizing Algerian authorities and a press release he shared from Algerian political parties;
  9. Whereas Algerian law prohibits the detention of journalists for their work; whereas Algeria’s current Information Minister Ammar Belhimer claimed journalist Khaled Drareni had no press card despite the fact that no journalists in Algeria hold valid press cards as the committee responsible for their issuance was never put in place; whereas journalist Khaled Drareni interviewed Information Minister Ammar Belhimer himself on his news show on July 26, 2016; whereas Algeria’s current President Abdelmajid Tebboune accused journalist Khaled Drareni of not being a journalist and being an informant for foreign powers following his work with foreign NGOs such as Doctors Without Borders; whereas Algerian President Abdelmajid Tebboune himself was interviewed by journalist Khaled Drareni on his news show in 2016 as former Housing Minister;

 

  1. Calls on Algerian authorities to immediately release all prisoners of conscience including journalist Khaled Drareni; calls for the immediate release of the 90 prisoners and Hirak activists including protest leaders Yacine Mebarki, political activist Abdellah Benaoum and poet Mohamed Tadjadit; calls on Algerian authorities to withdraw unjustified prison sentences against peaceful bloggers such as Abeldhamid Amid;
  2. Calls on Algerian authorities to end judicial harassment of protesters, journalists and lawyers; deplores the excessive resort to pre-trial detention during the Covid19 pandemic, as well as violations of the right to a fair trial;
  3. Calls on Algerian authorities to strengthen legislation on press freedom and freedom of information in line with Algeria’s international commitments and the Algerian Constitution; calls to allow printed and online newspapers to publish freely; deplores the fact foreign reporters still face administrative hindrances and obstructions to obtain press visas to work in the country ;
  4. Urges Algerian authorities to respond constructively to popular calls for democratic reforms from leaders of the Hirak movement; recalls in this respect President Tebboune’s statement to open dialogue with the Hirak movement, however notes that basic rights violations have been increasing since;
  5. Deplores amendments to Algeria’s Penal Code in April 2020 restricting freedom of the press, freedom of expression and freedom of association; deeply regrets the removal of freedom of conscience as a constitutional right in the newly adopted Constitution and considers it a setback for the rights and freedoms of Algerians; deplores the lack of institutional checks and balances as well as an independent judiciary; believes that such revisions seriously undermine the rule of law and prevent any free political dialogue on democratic reforms;
  6. Welcomes the new level of transparency in the announcement of the results of the November 1 referendum on the new Constitution; Welcomes recognition of Algeria’s cultural and linguistic diversity in the new Constitution’s article 4 which reaffirms the Amazigh language as official national language alongside Arabic;
  7. Calls on the Algerian government to allow UN Special Procedures of the UN Human Rights Council access to the country;
  8. Calls on the EU and its Member States to further support civil society and human rights defenders in Algeria, inter alia, by including human rights as an essential part of political dialogue with Algerian authorities in line with Article 2 of the EU-Algeria Association Agreement;
  9. 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 as well as to translate this resolution into both Arabic and Amazigh languages.

 

 

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