HRW Calls on Algeria to End Confinement of Women In Tindouf Camps

HRW Calls on Algeria to End Confinement of Women In Tindouf Camps

In its latest report on Algeria, Human Rights Watch called on Algerian authorities to intervene to end the confinement imposed on women in the Polisario-run camps in the region of Tindouf.

HRW sheds light on the case of Sahrawi girls who lived and established legal residency in Spain and who were prevented from traveling back to Spain by the Polisario militias running the Tindouf camps in South Western Algeria.

“The Polisario was unwilling or incapable of ending these situations of illegal confinement of women, a form of domestic violence,” deplores HRW in its World Report 2017.

“Algeria, despite its ultimate responsibility for protecting the human rights of all persons present on its territory, did not intervene to end their confinement,” underscores the New York-based human rights watchdog.

The same NGO denounced the retrogression of Algerian authorities on the issues of human rights, notably the freedom of expression. The report, published on HRW website, details the numerous restrictions imposed by Algerian authorities on free speech by resorting to criminal prosecutions in 2016 against bloggers, journalists, and media figures for peaceful speech.

Algerian authorities use “articles in the penal code criminalizing offending the president, insulting state officials or denigrating Islam to prosecute bloggers and journalists who are critical to the regime,” said the international rights watchdog.

Authorities in Algiers “have also prosecuted labor activists who organized or called for peaceful demonstrations on charges such as unauthorized gathering,” lamented HRW.

Citing examples of abuse inflicted on Algerians for critical speech, HRW sheds light on the case of Slimane Bouhafs, a converted Christian, who was delivered a three-year jail sentence for a facebook post and Belkacem Khencha, a labor rights defender, who was sentenced to six months in prison for posting a video on Facebook criticizing the judiciary for sentences imposed on other rights activists.

HRW also deplores the fate of Mohamed Tamalt, a freelance journalist with dual Algerian and British nationality who died on a hunger strike while in custody and who was prosecuted for a video he posted on Facebook featuring a poem deemed offensive to Algeria’s president.

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