Photo: UN Photo/Milton Grant

Algeria

Priority Issues

  • Justice and rule of law
  • women’s rights
  • health rights
  • capacity building

Began Program: 2004

More than ten years after a brutal, decade-long civil war ravaged the country, leaving nearly 200,000 dead and at least 7,000 disappeared, Algeria has yet to grapple with the traumas of its recent past. The government granted widespread amnesty to perpetrators of the war’s abuses, and the regime has zero tolerance for criticism of its human rights record, past or present. The lifting of a 19-year state of emergency in 2011 was swiftly followed by new laws restricting freedom of the press, association, and political parties. Activists are regularly harassed and arrested on trumped up charges.

In this extremely restrictive context, there nevertheless exist a handful of courageous activists who continue to seek truth and justice and promote democratic change.

Our Strategy

Very few human rights organizations are able to operate in Algeria. The Fund’s strategy has been to provide a lifeline for the small independent human rights community that exists, much as we did for years in neighboring Tunisia. Our grantees represent families of those disappeared or killed; these families are seeking information and justice from a government determined to brush aside such atrocities. Our grantees are demanding better protections for women, and an end to discrimination against people living with HIV/AIDS. Where the state has turned a blind eye, the activists we support relentlessly generate international pressure that has compelled the government to act. We also help grantees grappling with Algeria’s challenging environment—supporting efforts to build coalitions, capacity, and the ability to confront bureaucratic and legal obstacles.

Nassera Dutour is the mother of one of Algeria’s “disappeared.” In January 1997, her son Amine, twenty-years-old at the time, left home to buy pastries for the evening’s meal. He never returned. Since her son’s disappearance, she has devoted her life to shattering the silence surrounding the fate of her son and those of thousands of others who vanished during the war.