“Hundreds of individuals have been arrested since the protests resumed on 13 February 2021,” said the spokesperson for UN High Commissioner for Human Rights
Rabat – “We are very concerned about the deteriorating human rights situation in Algeria,” opened a press briefing released by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on Friday, March 5.
The Spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Rupert Colville, also drew attention to the “continued and increasing” persecution of the members of the pro-democracy Hirak movement in Algeria.
Noting the resumption of protests in recent weeks, Colville recalled 2019 and 2020, when the Algeran authorities responded in “the same repressive manner.” The spokesperson also brought attention to the excessive violence and arbitrary arrests happening in the country.
“According to reliable information, hundreds of individuals have been arrested since the protests resumed on 13 February 2021,” he noted.
“These developments echo what happened in 2019 and 2020,” he went on, recalling the approximately 2,500 people that were detained in relation to the Hirak movement.
It is not only the violence that is recurring. Living standards are plummeting, prices of essential foodstuffs such as cooking oil and chicken have been rising amid high unemployment, all while the state without its desperately-needed oil revenues is looking for someone to pass the blame on.
Little appears to have changed since the original onset of protests in 2019. Many Algerians demonstrating over the past week have emphasized that they are calling for the same demands as before.
Colville also brought attention to the fact that multiple journalists have been arrested, 16 independent media outlets have been blocked, while estimating that some 1,000 individuals have been prosecuted for posting critical messages of the Algerian government online.
He also noted that the UN has received allegations of torture, ill-treatment, as well as sexual violence in detention.
The spokesperson explained that “vaguely worded provisions of the Algerian Penal Code are being used to unduly restrict freedom of expression and prosecute people expressing dissenting opinions.”
Concluding the press briefing, Colville urged Algerian authorities to stop using violence against the protesters, cease arbitrary arrests and detentions, immediately release all those arrested or detained, as well as to conduct impartial investigations into all allegations of torture, ill-treatment in detention, and human rights abuses.