Procedure : 2019/2927(RSP)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : RC-B9-0193/2019

Texts tabled :

RC-B9-0193/2019

Debates :

PV 28/11/2019 - 3.1
CRE 28/11/2019 - 3.1

Votes :

PV 28/11/2019 - 8.1

Texts adopted :

P9_TA(2019)0072

<Date>{27/11/2019}27.11.2019</Date>
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<TitreType>JOINT MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION</TitreType>

<TitreRecueil>pursuant to Rules 144(5) and 132(4) of the Rules of Procedure</TitreRecueil>


<Replacing>replacing the following motions:</Replacing>

<TablingGroups>B9‑0193/2019 (ECR)

B9‑0194/2019 (S&D)

B9‑0196/2019 (PPE)

B9‑0199/2019 (Renew)</TablingGroups>


<Titre>on the situation of freedoms in Algeria</Titre>

<DocRef>(2019/2927(RSP))</DocRef>


<RepeatBlock-By><Depute>Michael Gahler, Peter van Dalen, Tomáš Zdechovský, Ivan Štefanec, Eva Maydell, Vladimír Bilčík, Magdalena Adamowicz, Michaela Šojdrová, Milan Zver, Isabel Wiseler‑Lima, Željana Zovko, Roberta Metsola, Lefteris Christoforou, Loucas Fourlas, Tomas Tobé, Seán Kelly, Romana Tomc, David McAllister, Stelios Kympouropoulos, Arba Kokalari, Tomasz Frankowski, Sandra Kalniete, Esther de Lange, Stanislav Polčák, Loránt Vincze, Inese Vaidere, Ioan‑Rareş Bogdan, Jiří Pospíšil, Andrey Kovatchev, Krzysztof Hetman</Depute>

<Commission>{PPE}on behalf of the PPE Group</Commission>

<Depute>Kati Piri, Raphaël Glucksmann</Depute>

<Commission>{S&D}on behalf of the S&D Group</Commission>

<Depute>Bernard Guetta, Atidzhe Alieva‑Veli, Abir Al‑Sahlani, Petras Auštrevičius, Malik Azmani, Phil Bennion, Stéphane Bijoux, Gilles Boyer, Jane Brophy, Sylvie Brunet, Catherine Chabaud, Dita Charanzová, Olivier Chastel, Anna Júlia Donáth, Engin Eroglu, Fredrick Federley, Barbara Ann Gibson, Klemen Grošelj, Christophe Grudler, Antony Hook, Ivars Ijabs, Irena Joveva, Moritz Körner, Ondřej Kovařík, Ilhan Kyuchyuk, Nathalie Loiseau, Jan‑Christoph Oetjen, Urmas Paet, María Soraya Rodríguez Ramos, Michal Šimečka, Susana Solís Pérez, Ramona Strugariu, Yana Toom, Viktor Uspaskich, Hilde Vautmans, Marie‑Pierre Vedrenne</Depute>

<Commission>{Renew}on behalf of the Renew Group</Commission>

<Depute>Jadwiga Wiśniewska, Joanna Kopcińska, Carlo Fidanza, Anna Fotyga, Witold Jan Waszczykowski, Karol Karski, Ruža Tomašić, Valdemar Tomaševski, Charlie Weimers, Bert‑Jan Ruissen</Depute>

<Commission>{ECR}on behalf of the ECR Group</Commission>

</RepeatBlock-By>

AMENDMENTS

European Parliament resolution on the situation of freedoms in Algeria

(2019/2927(RSP))

 

The European Parliament,

 having regard to its previous resolutions on Algeria, in particular that of 30 April 2015 on the imprisonment of workers and human rights activists in Algeria[1], and to its resolution of 27 March 2019 entitled ‘Post-Arab Spring: way forward for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region’[2],

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

 having regard to the 11th session of the EU-Algeria Association Council of 14 May 2018,

 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 shared partnership priorities adopted under the revised European neighbourhood policy (ENP) by the People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria and the European Union on 13 March 2017, which focus on the implementation of the constitutional review and the EU’s support to the progress of democracy and human rights in Algeria,

 having regard to the EU-Algeria Association Agreement[3] 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 Constitution of Algeria, revised on 7 February 2016, and in particular to Articles 2, 34 to 36, 39, 41, 42, 48 and 54 thereof,

 having regard to the EU Guidelines on human rights defenders, on the death penalty, on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, on freedom of expression online and offline, and on human rights defenders, and to the new EU Strategic Framework and Action Plan on Human Rights and Democracy, which aims to place the protection and surveillance of human rights at the heart of all EU policies,

 having regard to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, and the Convention on the Rights of the Child,

 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 African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights,

 having regard to Algerian Law 12-06 on associations and to Ordinance 06-03 which regulates non-Muslim religious worship,

 having regard to Rules 144(5) and 132(4) of its Rules of Procedure,

A. whereas Algeria is a close neighbour and a key partner of the European Union and of the North-African region;

B. whereas on 16 February 2019, ten days after Abdelaziz Bouteflika announced his candidacy for a fifth presidential term, peaceful protests known as the Hirak (Movement) began in Algeria; whereas on 2 April 2019 Bouteflika resigned; whereas the President of the Council of the Nation, Abdelkader Bensalah, assumed the office of acting Head of State; whereas the military leadership under Lieutenant General Ahmed Gaïd Salah has openly wielded power in the country since Bouteflika’s resignation;

C. whereas Abdelaziz Bouteflika had been President since 1999; whereas the constitutional review of 2016 limited the maximum number of presidential terms served by future presidents to two; whereas the constitutional review could not be applied retroactively, which meant that Bouteflika was allowed to run for a fifth term; whereas the presidential election, originally scheduled for 18 April 2019, was initially postponed to 4 July 2019 and subsequently to 12 December 2019;

D. whereas peaceful demonstrations took place throughout the country in February, March and April 2019, and then every Tuesday and Friday for the past 40 weeks; whereas in recent weeks, protestors have been holding night marches throughout the country;

E. whereas the Hirak enjoys wide support and constitutes the largest protest movement in Algeria; whereas young people make up the majority of demonstrators; whereas demonstrators are demanding an end to corruption, the lack of opportunities for political engagement, high unemployment rates and the repression of demonstrations, and a more pluralistic and inclusive framework to prepare for free elections, as part of the broader political transition;

F. whereas the 2019 World Press Freedom Index ranks Algeria 141st out of the 180 states surveyed, describes press freedom in the country as ‘under threat’ and notes that journalists face frequent persecution; whereas independent media organisations, citizen reporters on social media and other outlets face structural censorship from the Algerian authorities for any coverage regarded as in support of dissenting stances;

G. whereas since January 2018 the Algerian authorities have closed down several churches, of which a vast majority are part of the Église protestante d’Algérie (EPA), the legally recognised umbrella organisation of Protestant churches in Algeria;

H. whereas the editor-in-chief of the public radio station La Chaîne 3, Meriem Abdou, resigned on 23 February 2019 in protest against the biased treatment of the Hirak; whereas several other journalists have been arrested or subjected to intimidation, such as former France 24 Arabic correspondent Sofiane Merakchi, and the journalists Azeb El Sheihk and Abdelmouji Khelladi, in detention since 26 September 2019 and 14 October 2019 respectively;

I. whereas on 4 March 2019, Nadia Madassi, who had presented Canal Algérie for the last 15 years, resigned amid allegations that she had been censored; whereas on 5 March 2019, the newspaper Echorouk and TV channel El Bilad were sanctioned by the Ministry of Communication for covering the demonstrations; whereas the ‘Algérie – Debout!’ Facebook group, with more than 500 000 members, was shut down and its founder and administrator Sofiane Benyounes was harassed and interrogated several times before being charged; whereas the publications Jeune Afrique, Tout Sur l’Algerie, Algérie Part, Interlignes, and Observ’Algérie have been censored;

J. whereas Hirak protesters, human rights defenders, journalists and bloggers are increasingly targeted or arrested to prevent the exercise of their freedom of expression, association or peaceful assembly;

K. whereas the Algerian chamber of lawyers (Union nationale des ordres des avocats, UNOA) has unanimously denounced the arrests of Hirak activists and the suppression of freedoms; whereas on 24 October 2019 around 500 lawyers demonstrated in Algiers to demand respect for the protestors’ right to due process and for the independence of the judiciary; whereas UNOA has put in place a committee to support the lawyers defending detained protestors and dissidents;

L. whereas according to the Algerian League for the Defence of Human Rights (Ligue algérienne pour la défense des droits de l’homme, LADDH ) more than a hundred people have been arrested and detained in connection with the peaceful protests since the beginning of the Hirak; whereas the charges on which they are held – ‘undermining national unity and territorial integrity’, ‘inciting assembly’ and ‘weakening the morale of the army’ – are vague and violate international human rights standards;

M. whereas 87-year-old Lakhdar Bouregaa – a veteran of the war of independence – was arrested on 29 June 2019 for criticising the chief of the army; whereas 22-year-old law student Nour el Houda Dahmani was released on 25 November 2019 after being sentenced to six months in prison following a student march on 17 September 2019 and has become an icon for the weekly student marches; whereas Ibrahim Daouadji and four other activists were arrested on 12 October 2019 for contesting a visit from the Minister of Youth;

N. whereas Kamal Eddine Fekhar, a medical doctor, human rights defender, defender of the Amazigh At-Mzab community and former member of the LADDH, died in detention on 28 May 2019, following his arrest amid the large-scale protests, after 53 days on hunger strike, from what is believed to be the result of the conditions in which he was detained and medical negligence; whereas 22-year-old Ramzi Yettou died from injuries sustained after being brutally beaten by police in April 2019;

O. whereas Karim Tabbou, leading opposition figure, former secretary-general of the historical opposition party the Socialist Forces Front (Front des forces socialistes, FFS) and now head of the unrecognised Social and Democratic Union party, was arrested on 12 September 2019; whereas he was released by the Tipaza Court on 26 September 2019, but less than 14 hours later was arrested again under a different jurisdiction (Sidi M’Hamed) but similar conditions and is now detained in de facto solitary confinement;

P. whereas several members of the Rassemblement actions jeunesse (RAJ) association, including its founder Hakim Addad, its President Abdelouahab Fersaoui, and its 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;

Q. whereas several protesters, such as Samir Belarbi, Fodil Boumala, Fouad Ouicher, Saida Deffeur and Raouf Rais, who remain in detention, and human rights defenders – including Said Boudour, Hamid Goura and Slimane Hamitouche are being prosecuted for ‘weakening the morale of the army’;

R. whereas on 11 November 2019 the court of Sidi M’Hamed in Algiers opened the trial of 42 activists, including a member of the People’s Provincial Assembly of Wilaya, Samira Messouci, charged with ‘compromising the integrity of the national territory’ for brandishing the Amazigh emblem; whereas this flag has been deployed alongside the national flag all over the country during the weekly demonstrations; whereas several tribunals in the country have released demonstrators arrested on the same charge;

S. whereas the Algerian Constitution enshrines fundamental freedoms, including freedom of association, which is further defined by Law 12-06; whereas Law 12-06 requires that every association, including those that have already successfully registered, to register and obtain a registration receipt from the Ministry of the Interior before they can operate legally; whereas the applications for pre-registration of several civil society, non-governmental, religious and charitable organisations, such as the LADDH, EuromedRights, the RAJ, Amnesty International, the Protestant Association of Algeria, the National Commission for Non-Muslim Religious Groups and the Feminist Association for Personal Development and Exercise of Citizenship (AFEPEC), are still pending, despite their meeting all legal requirements; whereas they therefore lack official legal status;

T. whereas under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which Algeria has ratified, governments must ensure the right to freedom of religion, thought and conscience of everyone under their jurisdiction, and in particular religious minorities; whereas this right includes the freedom to exercise the religion or belief of one’s choice, whether publicly or privately, alone or with others;

1. Strongly condemns the arbitrary and unlawful arrests, detainment and intimidation of and attacks on journalists, trade unionists, lawyers, students, human rights defenders and civil society and all peaceful protesters taking part in the peaceful Hirak demonstrations;

2. Calls on the Algerian authorities to immediately and unconditionally release all those charged for exercising their right to freedom of expression, notably Hakim Addad, Abdelouahab Fersaoui, Massinissa Aissous, Djalal Mokrani, Ahmed Bouider, Kamel Ould Ouali, Karim Boutata, Ahcene Kadi, Wafi Tigrine, Khireddine Medjani, Samir Belarbi, Karim Tabbou, Fodil Boumala, Lakhdar Bouregaa, Samira Messouci, Ibrahim Daouadji, Salah Maati, Sofiane Merakchi, Azeb El Cheikh, Fouad Ouicher, Saïda Deffeur and the other peaceful protesters, human rights defenders and journalists arbitrarily imprisoned, despite the fact that their activities are allowed under Algerian law, in line with the international human rights instruments which Algeria has ratified; calls on the Algerian authorities to lift the travel ban and probation imposed on Slimane Hamitouche, Abdelmonji Khelladi and Mustapha Bendjama;

3. 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, and to take appropriate steps to ensure their physical and psychological protection, safety, security and the freedom to pursue their legitimate and peaceful activities; calls on the Algerian authorities to ensure and guarantee the right to freedom of expression, association, peaceful assembly and media freedom, which is guaranteed by the Algerian Constitution and by the ICCPR, which Algeria has signed and ratified;

4. Calls for an end to violations of the freedom to worship of Christians, Ahmadis and other religious minorities; reminds the Algerian Government that Ordinance 06-03 guarantees the free exercise of worship; calls on the Algerian authorities to reopen the church buildings concerned;

5. Calls on the Algerian authorities to amend Act 91-19 of 2 December 1991 to remove all restrictions on peaceful demonstrations that are not absolutely necessary or proportionate in terms of the provisions of Article 21 of the ICCPR; expresses its concern that despite the provisions of the constitutional review of 2016, the decree of 18 June 2001, which prohibits demonstrations in the capital, has not been revoked and is being applied generally throughout the country;

6. Calls on the Algerian authorities to effectively eliminate and prevent any form of excessive use of force by law enforcement officials while dispersing public gatherings; strongly condemns the excessive use of force that resulted in the death of Ramzi Yettou; calls on the Algerian authorities to conduct an independent investigation into all cases of excessive use of force by members of the security forces and to hold perpetrators to account;

7. Highlights that an independent judiciary is one of the fundamental elements for the functioning of a democracy and calls on the Algerian authorities to foster and ensure judiciary independence;

8. Calls on the European External Action Service, the Commission and the Member States to support civil society groups, human rights defenders, journalists and protesters, including by arranging prison visits, monitoring trials and issuing public statements, to support the UNOA Commission and other organisations acting in the defence of human rights, and to closely monitor the human rights situation in Algeria, using all available instruments, including the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights;

9. Encourages the Algerian authorities to review Law 12-06 of 2012 on associations and to engage in a genuine and inclusive dialogue with civil society organisations in order to frame a new law that is in conformity with international human rights standards and the Algerian Constitution;

10. Calls on the Algerian authorities to guarantee the full exercise of the freedom of thought, conscience and religion or belief to all, which is guaranteed by the Algerian Constitution and the ICCPR;

11. Expresses concern about the administrative hurdles that religious minorities are facing in Algeria, and notably regarding Ordinance 06-03; encourages the Algerian Government to revise Ordinance 06-03 to bring it further into line with the Constitution and with its international human rights obligations, namely Article 18 of the ICCPR;

12. 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 the 42 protestors detained for brandishing the Amazigh flag;

13. Calls for a solution to the crisis based on a peaceful and inclusive political process; is convinced that democratic reforms and a constructive and inclusive dialogue ensuring political, economic and social stability in Algeria could serve as way to relaunch a wealthy Arab Maghreb Union, which is important for successful cooperation between both sides of the Mediterranean;

14. 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.

 

 

[1] OJ C 346, 21.9.2016, p. 106.

[2] Texts adopted, P8_TA(2019)0318.

[3] OJ L 265, 10.10.2005, p. 2.

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