U.S. stresses Algeria’s efforts to fight against impunity- Report

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WASHINGTON – US State Department stressed on Wednesday the efforts engaged by Algeria to fight against impunity in all its forms, underlining the measures taken by the government to eliminate it.

“The government has taken steps to investigate, prosecute and punish public officials who have committed violations,” stated the State Department in its 2018 report on the state of human rights in the world, released Wednesday in Washington.

While cases of impunity for police and security forces still exist, “the government has provided information on the measures taken against agents accused of mischief,” added the State Department in the chapter of the report devoted to Algeria.

As part of the respect for the integrity of the people and the fight against inhuman treatment, six members of the police were prosecuted for torture, while the Directorate General of National Security (DGSN) said to have received 131 complaints of violence or threat from security agents and conducted 163 investigations into these allegations, highlighted the report, recalling that state agents are liable to 10 to 20 years’ imprisonment for such acts.

 

During the reporting period, there were no reports of arbitrary or extrajudicial executions by public authorities or their agents. Similarly, no political disappearances have been recorded in Algeria, the State Department added, noting, moreover, the absence of reports raising concerns about the living conditions in prisons and detention centers.

The government has also authorized the International Committee of the Red Cross and local human rights monitors to visit prisons, the report pointed out, however, the persistence of pre-trial detention and arrest of protesters accused of disturbing public order.

Also, human rights NGOs are active like Amnesty International, which has maintained its office in Algeria, closely following the human rights situation in the country.

In terms of civil liberties, the US Department recalled that the constitution guarantees freedom of expression and freedom of the press, adding that independent media in Algeria regularly criticize the policies established by the government.

 

Citing allegations by officials, the State Department noted, however, “the lack of clear regulations” governing the distribution of public sector’s  advertising money, which would have allowed the government to exert some influence on the media.

“Internet users have regularly exercised their right to freedom of expression” but the government has monitored certain emails and social media and blocked access to some social media, including Facebook and twitter, during the school exam period, added the report.

Regarding participation in the political process, the State Department’s document stressed that the Algerian Constitution grants citizens the right to choose their government through free and fair periodic elections, noting the successful organization of the 2017 parliamentary elections.

Recalling that Algeria is a multi-party republic whose President and Head of State is elected by universal suffrage for a five-year term, the report argued that “the civilian authorities have generally maintained effective control over the security forces” .

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