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Amnesty: Algeria must safeguard freedom of speech

Image of journalists [file photo]
Image of journalists [file photo]

Amnesty International has called on Algeria to amend its laws to remove “restrictions imposed unduly” on media outlets and to release those detained for exercising their right to freedom of expression.

In its Universal Periodic Review (UPR) before the UN Human Rights Council, Amnesty said the Algerian government must “remove the restrictions imposed unduly on the print media as well as on television and private radio stations by amending the law relating to information and the law on audio-visual activity.”

It went on to call for the release of those detained after exercising their right to freedom of expression, association and assembly.

Read: 150 journalists banned from Algeria

Amendments to the Criminal Code and the Family Code are also necessary according to the organisation and for the country to adopt a “general law to combat gender-based violence in close cooperation with national human rights organisations” and that “access of victims of sexual violence to support and health services in matters of sexuality and procreation” be facilitated.

The human rights organisation believes that Algeria also has progressed in cooperating with international human rights experts and the ratification of international treaties.

Amnesty International also called for more protection for migrants and refugees and for “the authorities to transpose into national law the provisions of the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and its Optional Protocol of 1967 and other norms of international law relating to the protection of persons in need of International protection and to grant protection to refugees recognised as such by UNHCR.”

The UPR provides an opportunity to review the human rights situation in all UN member countries every five years. Algeria was previously reviewed in 2008 and 2012.

Following its last UPR in May 2012, national and foreign associations called for the ratification of several international conventions, including those relating to the protection of all persons from enforced disappearances and the abolition of discriminatory measures against women.

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