EU-Algeria Association Council: Priority to Human Rights!

Press release
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On the eve of the seventh EU-Algeria Association Council on December 6, 2012, the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network (EMHRN), the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), the Coalition of Families of the Disappeared in Algeria (CFDA), the Algerian League for Human Rights Defense (LADDH), the National Independent Union of Public Servants (SNAPAP), the Network of Lawyers for the Human Rights (RADDH) and the Association for Change and Democracy in Algeria (ACDA) are urging the EU to give greater priority to human rights. In particular, our organisations call on the EU to make this issue, including gender equality and democratic reforms, a priority of the agenda of the Association Council, which is one of the stages of the negotiations on the adoption of an ENP Action Plan with Algeria in the framework of the European Neighborhood Policy (ENP).

In an open letter addressed to the EU on 15 October, our organisations had already called on the EU to implement the "more for more" policy approach with Algeria on the basis of concrete progress towards "a deep and sustainable democracy", as defined in the new ENP.

In view of the seventh Association Council between EU and Algeria, our organisations reiterate their call on the EU to state explicitly that the participation in the ENP is based on a "shared commitment to the universal values ​​of human rights, democracy and the rule of law " and to ensure that the Algerian authorities have made progress before the adoption of an ENP Action Plan. These steps are summarised in seven immediate actions, as follows:

1.Guarantee of freedom of association, assembly and trade union freedoms, including the repeal of the law n° 12-06 of 12 January 2012 on associations;
2.Respect of freedom of assembly through the provision of public places to hold meetings and through the repeal of the 2001 decree banning marches in Algiers;
3.Guarantee of freedom of expression, opinion and information, including the guarantee of the independence of Journalists and facilitating media access to all citizens; the cancellation of the law n° 12-05 of 12 January 2012 on information as well as of the article in the Penal Code punishing the offense of defamation and press; finally the effective opening of the audiovisual sector (including foreign channels and radio stations), announced but not yet legislated;
4.End of all forms of harassment, including judicial harassment against human rights defenders and union activists;
5.Cancellation of the Charter for Peace and National Reconciliation and its implementing regulations and the establishment of a genuine process of reconciliation based on truth and justice;
6.Implementation of measures necessary for gender equality, including the clear and full lifting of the reservations to articles 2, 15 (paragraph 4), 16 and 29 at the CEDAW and the ratification and the effective implementation of the Optional Protocol annex to the CEDAW;
7.Granting visas to representatives of international NGOs participating in official visits to Algeria.

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