AI Lambasts Algeria for “Hostility” to Refugees & Migrants

Amnesty International has rebuked Algeria over its deplorable human rights record smeared by continuing discrimination against refugees and migrants.

In its annual report, the international rights watchdog noted that Algeria failed to improve on human rights at all levels, registering degrading treatment of migrants by Algerian authorities.

“Arbitrary arrests, unjustified restrictions, prosecution of members of religious minorities, impunity for perpetrators of human rights abuses, unfair trials, mass expulsion of migrants…,” thus the report starts drawing the bleak picture of human rights in Algeria, where migrants continue to bear most of the brunt.

Amnesty International recalls cases of inhumane treatment inflicted on migrants in Algeria, citing in particular the case of African migrants who are rounded-up and sent manu militari to the desert borders with Niger where they are abandoned in harsh conditions.

The NGO also sheds light on the case of the Syrian refugees who were abandoned by Algerian authorities on the border with Morocco.

Earlier this month, The International Organization for Migration (IMO) confirmed that it has saved 1000 Sub-Saharan migrants abandoned by Algerian authorities in the desert in tough conditions.

Rounding up migrants across Algeria and deporting them without giving them an opportunity to challenge their expulsion or seek international protection as asylum seekers has been denounced by multiple human rights organizations, including Human Rights Watch.

Niger has repeatedly protested the inhumane treatment suffered by its nationals in Algeria and the black manhunt launched by Algerian authorities, which are surfing on a wave of anti-migrant populism espoused by senior political figures in the country, who described migrants as a source of criminality and diseases and as representing a threat to national security.

Civil society associations in Guinea, Gabon and Niger have urged the African Union to put the issue of the human rights violations by Algerian authorities against Sub-Saharan migrants on the agenda.

Anti-migrant discrimination and xenophobic rhetoric were behind the recall of the Guinean Ambassador to Algiers late last year. The decision by Guinean President, Alpha Conde, who was then AU chairman, drew attention to the double speak of Algeria, which aspires to have a voice in Africa while mistreating Africans on its soil.

At a time the African union puts the issue of migration on top of its concerns, Algeria, which often portrays itself as an actor in the continent, has flouted the basic principle of solidarity between African states.

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