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U.S. Statement at the UPR for Algeria
May 31, 2012

Human Rights Council Universal Periodic Review
13th Working Group Session
UPR Intervention for Algeria
May 29, 2012

(as drafted)

The United States warmly welcomes Minister Mourad Medelci and the delegation of Algeria to the UPR Working Group.

We commend Algeria for several recent efforts to improve its protection of the freedoms enjoyed by its citizens, including partially lifting restrictions on freedom of assembly under its 1990s Emergency Law and for some positive elements in its reformed Law on Associations.

We recognize these important steps toward allowing its citizens the freedoms they deserve, and we encourage the government to undertake further reforms to fully respect the universal right to freedom of expression.

We also congratulate Algeria for conducting successful legislative elections on May 10 and for permitting representatives of international civil society organizations to observe this important step in Algeria’s political development.

Despite these positive steps, we are concerned by remaining restrictions on civil society organizations under the revised Law on Associations.  While the Law streamlines the registration procedure for organizations, it still permits the government to deny licenses for political, religious, or arbitrary reasons.  Additionally, the law could limit foreign collaboration with and funding for Algerian NGOs.

We are also concerned about continued restrictions on free assembly.  The government has lifted several restrictions arising from the 1992 Emergency Law, but several restrictions—including a ban on unlicensed demonstrations in Algiers—remain, limiting Algerian citizens’ ability to assemble peacefully.  Additionally, Ordinance 06-03 places restrictions on assembly for religious purposes.  In light of the positive reforms Algeria has taken in the last year, when does the government intend to remove its remaining impermissible restrictions on free assembly and expression?

Finally, we are concerned by reports that many incidents of violence against women are insufficiently investigated and prosecuted by Algerian police and security forces and that many women remain at risk of further abuse.

Bearing in mind these concerns, the United States makes the following recommendations:

  1. Implement legal measures to limit the government’s ability to deny an organization’s license for political, religious, or arbitrary reasons and to not unnecessarily restrict the ability of Algerian NGOs to receive funding from foreign partners;
  2. Remove impermissible barriers to free assembly and expression, including those prohibiting demonstrations in Algiers; and
  3. Take robust measures to ensure incidents of violence against women are prosecuted and that protection for victims from retaliation is assured.