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.