UN Official Visits Algeria to Discuss Freedom of Peaceful Assembly

A demonstrator with tapes over her mouth takes part in a protest against the country's ruling elite and to demand an end to corruption in Algiers, Algeria October 29, 2019. (Reuters)
A demonstrator with tapes over her mouth takes part in a protest against the country's ruling elite and to demand an end to corruption in Algiers, Algeria October 29, 2019. (Reuters)
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UN Official Visits Algeria to Discuss Freedom of Peaceful Assembly

A demonstrator with tapes over her mouth takes part in a protest against the country's ruling elite and to demand an end to corruption in Algiers, Algeria October 29, 2019. (Reuters)
A demonstrator with tapes over her mouth takes part in a protest against the country's ruling elite and to demand an end to corruption in Algiers, Algeria October 29, 2019. (Reuters)

The UN Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association, Clément Nyaletsossi Voule, will kick off Saturday a 10-day official visit to Algeria to assess compliance with the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly in the country.

The visit was announced on the website of the UN Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner (OHCHR), which said Voule will visit Algeria from September 16 to 26 to “assess compliance with the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association, including the legal framework relating to these rights, and the challenges and opportunities for the protection of these rights.”

Also, the expert will focus on the ability of civil society organizations, labor unions and political parties to operate freely, as well as measures to protect the right of peaceful assembly.

During the visit, Voule will meet government officials, members of the legislature and the judiciary, monitoring bodies, and members of the UN country team, among others.

He will also meet with civil society actors, journalists, academics, lawyers, trade unions, and political parties.

Later, the UN Rapporteur will prepare a comprehensive report on the visit to the Human Rights Council in June 2024.

On February 22, 2019, millions of Algerians marched through Algiers and other cities to oppose a fifth term for the country’s president, Abdelaziz Bouteflika.

The protesters, known as the Hirak, forced Bouteflika’s resignation in April 2019.

Though the mass marches halted in March 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, around the second anniversary of Hirak, in February 2021, the protests resumed, but lost momentum three months later, due to repression and a weakening of the movement. Authorities accused the protesters of being led by foreign parties to harm the country’s stability and the army.

On Friday, human rights activists said on their social media accounts that during their meetings with Voule, officials of the Algerian League for the Defense of Human Rights (LADDH) and the Youth Action Rally (RAJ) intend to file a complaint regarding two decisions issued by the Algerian judiciary to dissolve them.

The Administrative Court of Algiers ordered the winding up of LADDH in June 2022 following a complaint filed by the interior ministry, while RAJ was dissolved in line with an October 2021 administrative court decision.

The Interior Ministry had alleged that RAJ is “rallying forces to destabilize the country” and conducting other activities that violate a controversial 2012 law on non-governmental groups.

Meanwhile, it said LADDH, and independent, 38-year-old group, was dissolved because the group has split into three arms competing among themselves, and thus violating local laws.

International human rights organizations, such as the International Federation for Human Rights and Human Rights Watch, called on the Algerian government to reverse the decisions to dissolve the two organizations. Meanwhile, several activists from both groups left the country for Europe, where they requested political asylum.



Sudan's RSF Agrees with UN on Steps to Ease Aid Delivery

Sudanese farmers plow a field on the outskirts of Sudan's eastern city of Gedaref on July 18, 2024. (Photo by AFP)
Sudanese farmers plow a field on the outskirts of Sudan's eastern city of Gedaref on July 18, 2024. (Photo by AFP)
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Sudan's RSF Agrees with UN on Steps to Ease Aid Delivery

Sudanese farmers plow a field on the outskirts of Sudan's eastern city of Gedaref on July 18, 2024. (Photo by AFP)
Sudanese farmers plow a field on the outskirts of Sudan's eastern city of Gedaref on July 18, 2024. (Photo by AFP)

Sudan's Rapid Support Forces agreed with the United Nations on some steps to ease aid delivery in areas under its control, a member of the RSF told Reuters on Thursday.

The Sudanese army has not reached any understandings on aid delivers with the RSF, he added. It is unclear if these steps could be implemented without the army's participation.

Meanwhile, a key supply route into Sudan's Darfur region, deemed at risk of famine by a global monitor, has been cut off due to heavy rains, a World Food Program official told Reuters on Thursday.
The UN agency has described Sudan as the world's biggest hunger crisis, with the western Darfur region most at risk as Sudan's 15-month civil war that has displaced millions and sparked ethnic violence grinds on.
WFP's Country Director Eddie Rowe said thousands of tons of aid are stranded at the Tina crossing on the Chad border, prompting the body to reopen talks with the army-aligned government to open an alternative, all-weather crossing further south called Adre.
"You have these huge rivers. As I speak now, our convoy, which is supposed to move over 2000 metric tons is stranded," he told Reuters from Port Sudan. Asked on the status of the talks that resumed this week, he said: "It's 50/50.”
WFP is now seeking clearances to move a large 70-truck convoy via a little-used, over 1000 kilometer route from Port Sudan to Darfur which Rowe said will involve crossing the battle lines of both the Sudan Armed Forces, the Rapid Support Forces and various militias.
He added that this mostly desert route has worked in the past but outside of the rainy season and that the last journey took weeks and was "fraught with a lot of challenges.”
In a separate interview, Mona Rishmawi, a member of the UN Fact-Finding Mission on Sudan, told Reuters that she had met Darfur refugees in Chad who told her stories of escaping with virtually no water and eating grass along the route. "There's no doubt that people are starving," she said.