UN envoy 'very concerned' for Algeria rights groups
UN human rights chief Navi Pillay says she is 'very concerned' about problems facing Algerian NGOs, highlighting their role in helping to expose abuses.
Algiers - UN human rights chief Navi Pillay said at the end of a three-day trip to Algeria that she was "very concerned" about problems facing Algerian NGOs, highlighting their role in helping to expose abuses.
Pillay, whose trip was the first to Algeria by a UN Human Rights Commissioner, also told journalists she wanted to see a UN mission dispatched swiftly to help resolve the issue of forced disappearances during the country's civil war.
Algerian NGOs provide "one of the essential checks" that helps improve the human rights environment, she said, by fighting for the rights of society's most vulnerable, and by exposing corruption and other abuses.
"(I have been) very concerned to hear that not only are they facing legal and bureaucratic restraints in Algeria, but some of their members are also being frequently harassed, intimidated and arbitrarily arrested by the security forces."
She also said she wanted to see a UN group of experts visit Algeria "quickly ...and without preconditions," to advise on how to deal with the issue of enforced disappearances, and for the government to ratify the Convention on Enforced Disappearances.
"(This) would signal that the State is equally determined never to see a repetition of the terrible situation in the 1990s when several thousand people were forcibly disappeared by both the rebel forces and state security apparatus."
Twenty years ago, the military stepped in to stop the Islamic Salvation Front from winning Algeria's first multi-party legislative polls, sparking a civil war that lasted a decade and left up to 200,000 people dead. Thousands remain unaccounted for.