Algeria's independence: 50 years after the Evian Accords (March 18, 1962)

No cause for celebration: Human rights abuses continue in Algeria

On the 50th anniversary of the Evian Accords declaring the independence of Algeria from French colonial power, the Society for Threatened Peoples (STP) takes stock of the current human rights situation in this North African nation. "Algeria's rulers are responsible for the violent deaths of tens of thousands, but nobody is holding them to account," criticized the human rights organization in a 13-page memorandum. "Brutal repression of protests, immunity from punishment, corruption, nepotism, and marginalization of non-Arabian minorities still characterize the catastrophic human rights situation in Algeria."

"The Algerian government has blood on its hands. It shares responsibility for the deaths of 120,000 to 150,000 people during the civil war in the 1990s," stated Ulrich Delius of the STP's Africa section. With the secret service, DRS, illegally arming militias and carrying out terrorist attacks, the state security apparatus is fueling the violence. Still today, the fate of at least 6,146 "disappeared" people, all known by name, is still unexplained. They are assumed to have been kidnapped, tortured and murdered by security forces during the civil war (1991-2001).

"The government of Algeria will stop at nothing to gain international support in their fight against radical Islamists," explained Delius. Secret service agents infiltrated the radical Islamic GIA movement and, in March 1996, kidnapped seven French Trappist monks. The monks were accused of having cared for wounded Islamists. All seven died during the kidnapping. It is still not known whether the monks were intentionally murdered by the secret service agents or were killed accidentally during an air raid. In spite of having knowledge to the contrary, authorities blamed the Islamists for these deaths. What really happened was covered up, and did not become known until years later when secret French documents were published.

Non-Arabian minorities such as Kabyle and Tuareg suffer from marginalization and denial of their rights. Nobody has been held accountable for the killing of 132 Kabyle by security forces during protests in the spring of 2001. Up to 20,000 Tuareg who were subjected to radiation from French nuclear testing in the Sahara in the 1960s are still waiting for compensation. Rather than standing up for the rights of the Tuareg, the Algerian government only exploits any discussion of the atom-bomb tests as an opportunity to criticize France. Their command to lock up 600 Islamists in prison camps located within the irradiated area was inhuman. In February 2011, approximately 30,000 riot police were ordered to systematically seal off Algiers to prevent the continuing protests in other North African countries from overflowing into the capital.

You can download our memorandum (in German) here.