The European Council deplored, in the EU annual report on human rights and democracy in the world in 2016, that the exercise of fundamental rights “notably the freedom of assembly and freedom of expression continued to be challenged in practice.”
Meanwhile, the 2012 Associations Law “continues to pose challenges to the functioning of both local and international associations in Algeria,” explained the report, adding that several EU partners have not yet received the authorities’ permission to officially register as associations and therefore cannot properly operate in the country.
Algeria has also received scathing criticism from the European Council due to imposing restrictions on the right of assembly, where “permission for gatherings is systematically refused. Several human rights gatherings organized by associations were prohibited and their organizers arrested.”
The report also lambasted Algeria for failing to implement the International Labor Organization (ILO) Convention 87 on freedom of association and the protection of the right to organise with regard to the creation of independent trade unions.
“In 2016, the ILO recommended that Algeria ensure there were no obstacles to the registration of independent unions and reinstate public officials who had been dismissed on the grounds of alleged anti-union discrimination,” the report says.
Concerning the media, the European Council notes that despite the dynamic media landscape, “Algeria’s efforts to ensure pluralism and press freedom have not always met with official support in practice. Administrative issues such as the granting of operating licenses for media outlets, the issuing of construction permits or financing through publicity were used to put pressure on independent media. Despite recent constitutional amendments, public prosecutors continued to demand severe prison sentences for media offences”.
The report gave the example of the restrictions facing several bloggers who were accused of defamation and condemned to serve prison terms, adding that in 2016 Algeria ranked 129th in the World Press Freedom Index of Reporters Without Borders.