North Africa: Algeria – Open letter to Mr. António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations

23.05.2020 - Pressenza New York

North Africa: Algeria – Open letter to Mr. António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations
Rally in Union Square NYC in Nov 2019 (Image by David Andersson)

Human rights activist Rabah Arkam has written a letter to United Nations Secretary General António Guterres regarding unacceptable human rights violations in Algeria. The activist’s objective is to call for an end to the wave of arrests resulting from the repressive policy and human rights violations by the Algerian regime.

Mr. Secretary-General,

Faced with unacceptable violations of human rights by the Algerian regime, which has taken the reins of the state. Peaceful activists are subject to arbitrary arrest and detention on a daily basis in the context of mounting repression in the country. Dozens of students and members of civil society have been imprisoned in El Harrach prison in Algiers pending their “trial” for “incitement to peaceful assembly” and “exploited for national security”.

Arrests and convictions of journalists and political opponents are increasing in the face of unfounded accusations of “attacking national unity”, among them Mr. Karim Tabbou, after a surprise and expeditious trial, the founder of the Democratic and Social Union (UDS) and former first secretary of the Front des Forces Socialistes (FFS), the oldest opposition party, was sentenced on appeal, Tuesday March 24, 2020, is still in detention, arrested in September 2019, this A figure in Hirak (the popular movement), had been sentenced to one year in prison, including six months on March 11, 2020 for “endangering national security”. He was therefore to be released, but the prosecutor had appealed his first conviction, to the stupor of his lawyers, while Mr. Rachid Nekkaz, President of the Movement for Youth and Change (MJC) party, and former candidate for the elections presidential elections of 2012 is still in detention in Koléa prison and faces the death penalty.

The behavior of the Algerian judicial system has been unprecedented since independence, which is added to all the dysfunctions and errors of the Algerian judicial system which, obviously, fail to free themselves from the grip of the executive. Algeria, which has been called the “People’s Democratic Republic”, is neither republican nor democratic, nor popular. This semantic cover hides a dictatorship with a democratic facade and populist rhetoric.

Algeria has not yet established a law-based state. It suffices to recall the systematic violations that have undermined the foundations of the rule of law and the legitimacy of the institutions, and this since national independence. From the dissolution of the 1st National Constituent Assembly in 1963 then from the development of the 1st Constitution and its adoption in a cinema hall by an illegitimate power. Subsequently, after the coup in June 1965, the country was governed by a dictatorial regime, rogue without counterweight. The new 1989 Constitution imposed on the people who once again was not consulted for its elaboration was violated again with the interruption of the electoral process in January 1992, supposed to establish democracy, causing tens of thousands of deaths and missing. As for democracy, we are still waiting for it. This same Constitution has since been amended more than once to perpetuate the current regime, the people being kept on the sidelines each time.

Mr. Secretary-General,

Since February 16, 2019, the start of peaceful protests, the Algerian authorities have arrested more than a hundred demonstrators, lawyers, human rights defenders, journalists and more than 168 arrests without warrant or court order, violating their rights to freedom of expression and association guaranteed by the Algerian constitution and international law.

In your capacity as the Secretary of the United Nations responsible for promoting the aspirations of peoples to live their dreams with respect for their culture, their customs and to be free, as proclaimed in the Charter of the United Nations in articles 73 and 74 of Chapter XI, the Algerian People wishes that the UN takes due account of their political aspirations supports the peaceful and popular demands of HIRAK (Algerian Pacific Movement).

Categories: Africa, Human Rights, International, Politics
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