Last Updated: Thursday, 27 November 2014, 13:39 GMT

Algeria: Waves of repression against labour rights activists

Publisher International Federation for Human Rights
Publication Date 22 February 2013
Cite as International Federation for Human Rights, Algeria: Waves of repression against labour rights activists, 22 February 2013, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/513dd17e23.html [accessed 27 November 2014]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Last Update 22 February 2013

Algiers, Geneva-Paris, 21 February, 2013 – Our organisations strongly condemn the last two incidents that targeted labour rights activists yesterday in Algeria.

The first incident involved ten young members of associations of unemployed workers of the Maghreb, who were to attend the first Maghreb Forum for the Fight Against Unemployment and Temporary Work (Forum maghrébin pour la lutte contre le chômage et le travail précaire) in Algiers on 20-21 February 2013. The young activists – 5 Tunisians[1], 3 Mauritanians[2] and 2 Moroccans[3] – were attending the event that was going to take place at the Maison des syndicats (labour union centre) of Bab Ezzouar (neighbourhood of Algiers). According to our information, on 20 February, the members of these 3 delegations were arrested and then taken to the airport after having spent the entire day at the Bab Ezzouar police station. Even though the members of the Mauritanian and Tunisian delegations have already been repatriated between yesterday and this morning, it seems that the members of the Moroccan delegation are still detained at the airport, cut off from any contact with the outside world.

Our organisations denounce this attempt to prevent human rights defenders from exercising their rights to freedom of peaceful assembly, association, expression as well as the right to form and maintain a union.

Our organisations also highlight the fact that the hotel rooms of 10 activists were searched by the police. Mourad Thicko, member of the National Autonomous Union of Public Administration Staff (SNAPAP), and Abdelkader Kherba, member of the National Committee for the rights of the unemployed (CNDDC), were also arrested and detained at the police station until later that night.

Very early in the morning, the police also cordoned off the building housing the Maison des syndicats to prevent others from gaining access to the meeting room. The Maison des syndicats, which has housed SNAPAP on a regular basis since January 2013, is a private venue used as a place for meetings, training sessions and debates for union and association members. Our organisations underline that the organisers of the forum have not violated any provision of the law despite the statements made on El Watan by the director of the communication unit of the directorate general for National Security (DGSN)[4]. It is in accordance with the Law No. 91-19 of 2 December 1991 on public meetings and assemblies, which states that all private meetings convened by personal invitation are exempted from prior notification to the authorities (art. 14).

In addition, following an event on the same day in Laghouat (southern Algeria) 17 other young activists well-known for their activism, including MM. Mohamed Rag, Aissa Tadj, Mohamed Bendjillali, Mustapha Ternoukha and Ahmed Akouche were arrested. They are currently facing the prosecutor of the Court of Laghouat.

Our organisations urge the Algerian authorities to:

  • Release immediately and unconditionally the 17 militants of Laghouat, as their detention seems to penalise their activities to defend Human Rights;

  • Do not proceed with the expulsion of the Maghreb activists who remain on the Algerian territory, guarantee free access to Algerian territory in the future;

  • Bring an end to all forms of harassment against all human rights in compliance with the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights defenders;

  • Guarantee the rights to freedom of assembly, association and expression, as well as the right to form and maintain unions, in compliance with the Algerian Constitution and with the provisions of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the ILO conventions, instruments that have been ratified by Algeria;

  • Guarantee the safety of and access to the premises of the Maison des syndicats, as well as the holding of any legal activity held therein.

Signatory Organisations:

Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network (EMHRN)

Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a joint programme of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT)

Collectif des familles des disparu(e)s en Algérie (CFDA Coalition of the families of the disappeared)

Ligue Algérienne pour la Défense des Droits de l'Homme (LADDH Algerian League for the Defence of Human Rights)

Syndicat National Autonome du Personnel de l'Administration Publique (SNAPAP Independent National Union of Public Servants)

Réseau des Avocats pour la Défense des Droits de l'Homme (RADDH Lawyers Network for the Defence of Human Rights)

Agir pour le Changement Démocratique en Algérie (ACDA Action for Democratic Change in Algeria)

Comité International de Soutien au Syndicalisme Autonome Algérien (CISA International Committee of Support to Independent Algerian Unions)

Additional Information:

Forum maghrébin pour la lutte contre le chômage et le travail précaire (Maghreb Forum for the Fight Against Unemployment and Temporary Work)

The following organisations were invited to take part in the first Maghreb Forum for the Fight Against Unemployment and Temporary Work: Comité national des contrats pré-emploi et filet social d'Algérie (National Algerian Committee on Pre-employment Contracts and the Social Net); Union des Diplômés Chômeurs (UDC Union of Unemployed Graduates, Tunisia); Association Nationale des Diplômés Chômeurs (ANDCM National Association of Unemployed Graduates, Morocco); Association Mauritanienne des Diplômés Chômeurs (AMDC Mauritanian Association of Unemployed Graduates); Comité national pour la défense des droits des chômeurs (National Committee for the Defence of the Rights of the Unemployed, Algeria); Comité national des diplômés chômeurs (National Committee of Unemployed Graduates, Algeria).

Maison des syndicats

It may be recalled that the former Maison des syndicats, located at Dar El Beida (Algiers East), was broken into during the night of 3 May 2012, following the announcement of the establishment of a union federation, the Confédération nationale autonome des travailleurs algériens (CNATA National Independent Federation of Algerian Workers). Only computers were removed, suggesting that this break-in was an act of intimidation intended to curtail the right to form a trade union. In addition, the complaint filed by SNAPAP following the 8 May 2011 break-in, as well as the older litigation concerning the closure by administrative decision of the Maison des associations (Oran, 2002) and the Maison des syndicats (Algiers, 2010), have been ignored to this day.


[1] Benamor Salah, Idoudi Souheil, Boussaa Kamel, Affout Intissar and Benammour Noaman.

[2] Widdady Abdou, Haimedane Ahmed and Bayrouk Fatimetou.

[3] Louchacha Dhahbi and Kalou Imade.

[4] http://www.elwatan.com/actualite/11-syndicalistes-etrangers-et-2-algeriens-arretes-21-02-2013-204187_109.php.

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