VP/HR — Closed churches and persecution of Christians in Algeria
Question for written answer E-000084-19
to the Commission (Vice-President/High Representative)
Tomáš Zdechovský (PPE)
There is a long-standing legal difficulty in Algeria. The law of 2006 known as Ordinance 06‐03, which governs worship by non-Muslims, stipulates that non-Muslim worship can only be conducted in a building approved for that purpose by the National Commission for Non-Muslim Religious Groups. To date, not a single permit has been granted to use a building for non-Muslim worship.
In January 2018, most churches have been visited by delegations consisting of officials from the municipalities, the Ministry of Religious Affairs, the fire brigade, the national Gendarmerie and the Intelligence Department. The declared aim is to check compliance with safety regulations.
However, the questions asked concern not safety but whether the churches hold a permit from the National Commission for Non-Muslim Religious Groups to operate as places of worship.
As a result of the visits of these delegations, six churches have been ordered to close down, several others have been ordered to cease all activities, and pastors have been ordered to provide a summary of their sermons and the number of attendees, or else face the compulsory cessation of all activities.
What is the VP/HR’s position on this situation in Algeria?