Repression in Algeria: Dissolution of the Algerian League for the Defence of Human Rights

Fiora Garenzi / Hans Lucas / Hans Lucas via AFP

Paris, 23 January 2023. The International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) has learned of the dissolution by the Algerian junta of its member organisation in Algeria, the Algerian League for the Defence of Human Rights (LADDH). While this decision is not surprising, given Algeria’s context of closure of civil society, it is nonetheless extremely shocking and worrying. In particular, the modalities of this decision are particularly grotesque and speak volumes about the lack of independence of justice in Algeria.

It was through social media that LADDH learned of its dissolution on Friday 20 January. The organisation had been kept out of the whole procedure, which began on 4 May 2022 with an introductory request from the Ministry of the Interior to the administrative court of Algiers, asking for the dissolution. The court, again without informing LADDH, ruled on 29 June in favour of the ministry, only making this decision public in September, without however communicating it to the party concerned. A most curious method, as the accused were never given the opportunity to defend themselves, or even to find out what they were accused of before last Friday.

The Ministry of the Interior’s complaint is allegedly motivated by the organisation’s non-compliance with the texts in force governing associations. In reality, these accusations are obviously unfounded. It is its role of defending human rights, freedom and democracy that LADDH is accused of. Its work on the issue of human rights, in collaboration with other international bodies and organisations, is explicitly mentioned in the judgment text.

Muzzling voice of the voiceless

Since its creation in 1985, the Algerian League for the Defence of Human Rights has been the voice of the voiceless. It has always denounced the repression of political opponents, peaceful demonstrators and citizen movements. It has supported the victims and stood by the most disadvantaged, in particular the families of migrants and religious minorities.

The Algerian regime thus continues its hunt for dissident voices. The repression of Algerian civil society, especially the fringe closest to the Hirak, the large pro-democracy movement launched in 2019, did not start today. It has affected "pro-Hirak" associations such as the Rassemblement Actions Jeunesse (RAJ), the Association SOS Bab Eloued or independent medias such as Radio Med and Maghreb Emergent, banned by the authorities through judicial harassment. This new decision condemns the last independent witness, recognised by international bodies and active in the defence of human rights in Algeria.

"The persecution of our organisation in Algeria shows only one thing: that the defence of human rights scares authoritarian regimes."

Alice Mogwe, President of FIDH

"The Algerian example is striking, but it is not the only one. It is reminiscent of the dissolution of another NGO member of the FIDH and just as emblematic: Memorial, dissolved by the Russian state in December 2021. The parallel is striking", declared Alice Mogwe, President of FIDH.

"The LADDH knows it can count on the unfailing support of FIDH}, » declared Yosra Frawes, head of the Middle East and North Africa Desk at FIDH. « Through the LADDH, we support all Algerian civil society, its activists for human rights, for women’s rights, for democracy and for the right to remember past crimes."

"With the arbitrary dissolution of LADDH, the Algerian regime fully assumes its dictatorial nature before national and international opinion", said Aïssa Vice-President of LADDH and FIDH.

"This is a challenge to the democratic gains of several generations of human rights activists, we will not be silent."

Aïssa Vice-President of LADDH and FIDH
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