Algeria has acceded to the seven major United Nations conventions on human rights, namely: the two International Covenants on Civil and Political Rights; on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (1989), the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (1972) the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (1996), the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (1989), the Convention on the Rights of the Child (1993), and the Convention on the Protection of Migrant Workers and Members of their Families (2005). It also acceded to the first optional protocol of the covenant on Civil and Political Rights (1989).
Algeria has also acceded to the eight International Labour Organization (ILO) conventions on human rights, namely: the two conventions (87 and 98) on Freedom of Association and Collective Bargaining (1962), the two conventions (29 and 105) on Forced or Compulsory Labour (1962 and 1969 respectively), the two conventions (100 and 111) concerning the Elimination of Discrimination in Respect of Employment and Occupation (1962 and 1969 respectively), and the two conventions (138 and 182) pertaining to Forbidding the Employment of Children and Minors (1984 and 2001 respectively).
Algeria made reservations on certain provisions it acceded to:
- The two International Covenants on Civil and Political Rights; on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights: a declared interpretation that article (1) which is a common article for the two covenants does not affect people's right to self-determination and to control their natural resources. That the reference in article (3/1) in both covenants and article (14) of the international covenant on economic, social and cultural rights to keeping certain regions in a state of dependency contradicts United Nations charter and its goals. Algeria also interprets the provisions of article (8) of the covenant on economic and social rights and article (22) of the covenant on civil and political rights in a way that considers the law as the framework within which states practice the right of organization. It also considers that the provisions of article (13/3 and 4) of the covenant on economic and social rights do no affect in any way a state's right to freely establish its own educational system. It also interprets article (23/4) of the covenant on civil and political rights concerning the rights and responsibilities of married couples during marriage and upon its dissolution in a way that does not affect the foundation of the Algerian legal system.
- The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women: article (2) that commits states to eliminate discrimination against women through integrating the principle of gender equality in their national constitutions and legislation, and guaranteeing the realization of this principle through amending or abolishing laws that discriminate against women. Algeria accepted this article as far as it does not contradict the Algerian Family Law. Article (9/2) on granting women equal right to men's right in terms of their children's citizenship. Algeria rejected this article because it contradicts Algerian citizenship and family laws. Article (15/4) concerning the right to personal freedom and to choose the place of residence because it contradicts the Family Law. Article (16) concerning equality of men and women in all matters relating to marriage and familial relations during marriage and upon its dissolution as long as it does not contradict the Family Law. Article (29/1) concerning ways of resolving disputes among state parties over implementing or interpreting the convention.
- The Convention on the Rights of the Child: interpretive declaration on article (14/1 and 2) concerning a child's right of thought, conscience and religion, respect of parents rights and duties towards guiding their children, respect of a child's right to act in a manner compatible to his/her developing capabilities. Algeria interprets commitments mentioned in these two articles according to its legal systems, especially its constitution which stipulates that Islam is the religion of the state. Article (13, 16 and 17) pertaining to a child's ability to access information and materials from all international sources. Algeria takes into account a child's interest and the need to protect children, and interprets the commitments mentioned in these articles according to the rules of its national laws.
- The Convention on the Protection of Migrant Workers and Members of their Families: article 92/1 pertaining to arbitration of disputes among state parties over interpreting or implementing the convention.
Algeria has agreed to the "Cairo Declaration on Human Rights in Islam" issued in 1990 by foreign ministers of Muslim countries. The declaration is a guiding document that does not require ratification. Algeria also acceded to the "Arab Charter of Human Rights/Amended" prepared by the Arab Summit in Tunisia in May 2004, but did not ratify it like most Arab states. It also acceded to the "African Charter for Human and Peoples' Rights (1987); The African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (2003). It also acceded to the protocol on establishing The African Court for Human and Peoples Rights; and the protocol on Women's Rights (2004).
Human Rights Institutions
Algeria has two types of human rights institutions: national institutions and non-governmental organizations. The government established the "National Observatory for Human Rights" in 1991; however it did not achieve its objectives and was replaced by "The National Advisory Committee for the Advancement and Protection of Human Rights" formed by a presidential decree issued in 2001. The decree designated the committee as an independent public institution that enjoys financial and administrative independence entrusted with advisory tasks relating to monitoring, early warning and assessment in the field of human rights. The committee disseminates human rights culture and reviews national legislation in terms of its compatibility with human rights principles, and shares in preparing the state's reports to United Nations agencies. The committee also submits an annual report to the President. In addition, Algeria witnessed the establishment of some non-governmental human rights organizations of varied interests. Some NGOs work on human rights in general, such as "The Algerian Association for Human Rights" (1987) and "The Algerian Association for Human Rights Defense" (1985). Other NGOs work on human rights pertaining to specific groups, such as "Nour Organization for Protecting and Advancing Human Rights" (2000) and "Amnesty International/Algeria Chapter" (1989).
Achievements on the Road to Good Governance
1. Algeria promulgated on March 16, 2005 a law that enables the children of Algerian women married to non-Algerians to acquire their mother's citizenship. The law also improves women's employment conditions, put additional restrictions on a man's right to have more than one wife (polygamy), and abolished the condition requiring relatives' guardianship over women's marriage.
2. Since November 2005, the government launched a program for combating corruption in the judicial system. The National Judicial Council met twice in 2006 and put in December 12 judges on trial charged with abuse of influence and disrespect of their profession. In 2005 the judicial council dismissed 60 judges for behaving in a way that degraded their profession.