Algeria: UN calls for impartial, rapid investigations in claims of sexual abuse, torture against Hirak activists

The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights has officially called on the Algerian authorities to conduct “prompt and impartial investigations” into the allegations of torture and sexual abuse suffered by several inmates arrested during the Hirak who openly denounced the ill-treatment inflicted on them by the security services while in police custody.

Rupert Colville, Spokesman for the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, officially called on the Algerian authorities to “prompt and impartial investigations” into the allegations of torture and sexual abuse made by several detainees in the country. Hirak who openly denounced the ill-treatment inflicted by the security services while in police custody.

In a statement posted Friday on the website of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Spokesman Rupert Colville said the UN body has instructed the Algerian regime to “conduct rapid, impartial and effective investigations into all allegations of torture and ill-treatment in detention.”

Rupert Colville also demanded that the Algerian authorities “hold to account all those responsible” for these infamous practices of torture “and to ensure that the victims have access to reparations.”

“We urge the authorities to repeal the legal provisions and policies used to prosecute people who exercise their rights to freedom of opinion and expression and peaceful assembly,” said Rupert Colville.

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights also brought up the issue of prisoners of conscience. The UN body called for the release of all those imprisoned for their political opinions and activities in favor of Hirak.

“We urge the authorities to immediately and unconditionally release all those arbitrarily arrested or detained for allegedly supporting the Hirak and to drop all charges against them,” Rupert Colville stated.

The UN body also denounced the resort to excessive force by Algerian security forces to suppress the peaceful demonstrations.

“There have been numerous instances across the country where security forces have used unnecessary or excessive force and arbitrary arrests to suppress peaceful demonstrations,” UN human rights spokesman Rupert Colville said.

“These developments echoed what happened earlier in 2019 and 2020, during which a total of at least 2,500 people were arrested or detained in connection with their peaceful activism,” he said.

“Similarly, the criminal prosecution in 2019 and 2020 of activists, human rights defenders, students, journalists, bloggers and ordinary citizens expressing dissent continued during the first two months of this year,” he added.

Since mid-February, thousands of Algerians have defied Covid-19 restrictions and took to the streets of Algiers and other cities across the country to commemorate the second anniversary of the Hirak movement and renew their demands for the end of the military junta rule and the establishment of a civilian democratic state.

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