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Authorities curtail free speech and the rights to freedom of association, assembly, and peaceful protest. They also arbitrarily arrest and prosecute political and trade union activists. Perpetrators of torture, enforced disappearances, unlawful killings, and other serious rights abuses committed during the civil war enjoy impunity, according to Human Rights Watch:
Algerian authorities increasingly resorted to criminal prosecutions in 2016 against bloggers, journalists, and media figures for peaceful speech, using articles in the penal code criminalizing offending the president, insulting state officials” or denigrating Islam. They have also prosecuted labour activists who organized or called for peaceful demonstrations on charges such as unauthorized gathering.
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Today, about 30 generals control the government of Algeria. They use terror and torture to subdue their rivals and generous handouts funded by hydrocarbon revenues to pacify the general population, say news reports.
No freedom of association
There is no such thing as a freedom of association in Algeria. The government has withheld legal status from independent trade unions that applied for it, hindering their ability to collect the membership fees they need to rent an office and organize events. Without legal status, they cannot open a bank account or file cases in court.
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Elected union officials have been suspended from their positions without compensation and never rehired. In 2016, the International Labour Organization recommended that Algerian authorities end the practice of preventing the registration of autonomous unions and reinstate all workers suspended or dismissed because of their trade union activities.
Global unions concerned over increasing violations in Algeria
Public Services International (PSI), International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers’ Association (IUF), International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) and IndustriALL Global Union are deeply concerned over the increasing pressure and intimidation against independent unions in Algeria.
As matter of urgency, global unions call on Mourad Zemali, Minister of Labour, Employment and Social Security to redouble his efforts to strictly abide by international human and labour rights, including the right to freedom of association, and demand a time-bound plan to provide remedy for the specific violations of labour rights.