Declaration by the Algerian associations organizing the conference :
“Truth in Algeria: Review and perspectives one year after UN observations”
On March 5 and 6, 2009, the Conference “Truth in Algeria: Review and perspectives one year after UN observations” took place at the International Conference Center in Geneva, Switzerland. This Conference was organized by the Collective of the Families of the Disappeared in Algeria (CFDA), in partnership with the World Organisation against Torture (OMCT), the Algerian associations of the families of victims of terrorism Djazaïrouna and Somoud, with the support of the Euromediterranean Federation against Enforced Disappearances (FEMED), the International Federation of Human Rights (FIDH) and the Cairo Institute for Human Rights (CIHRS).
On the first day, the participants to the Conference touched on the issue of impunity for perpetrators of serious crimes, as stated in the “Charter for Peace and National Reconciliation.” They also reviewed the official position of the Algerian authorities on the recommendations made by UN human rights mechanisms. On the second day, the participants discussed the creation of a transitional justice mechanism.
This mechanism would effectively consolidate peace in Algeria, allow for the establishment of truth, and provide justice to victims, according to the conclusions and recommendations of the “Seminar for
Truth, Peace and Conciliation,” organized in Brussels on March 18 and 19, 2007. In particular, the participants talked about the different types of reparation in favour of victims. They also underlined that reparations cannot be limited to a financial aid.
The participants deplored the fact that this Conference did not take place in Algeria. They greeted the presence of representatives from the National Consultative Commission for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights (CNCPPDH) who responded to the invitation of the organizers. This contribution is considered as a first, which deserves to be repeated in Algeria. The representatives from the CNCPPDH presented their review of the measures to implement the Charter for Peace and National Reconciliation.
The organizers consider that this review was less than what they had expected.
The participants ask the Algerian authorities to allow the organization of such events in Algeria in the near future. The participants also regretted that many associations of victims, among them SOS Disparus, have not yet obtained legal recognition from the authorities. This recognition would allow them to escape the current situation, where their activities are merely tolerated, and would enable them to work under the protection of the law.
At the conclusion of the Conference, the participants agreed to address the following recommendations to the Algerian authorities and to ask them to:
- effectively respect international commitments of Algeria regarding human rights protection;
- implement and circulate widely the concluding observations of the Human Rights Committee of the United Nations in 2007 and the observations of the Committee against Torture in 2008;
- comply with the decisions made by the Human Rights Committee on individual cases of enforced disappearances which have been submitted to the State;
- locate the mass graves, identify and return bodies to their families;
- proceed immediately to impartial and thorough investigations on the facts of murders, rapes, tortures, enforced disappearances and collective massacres;
- identify, prosecute and sanction the authors of these crimes despite their status (acting on the behalf of the State or on the behalf of the Islamist armed groups) in front of independent and impartial jurisdictions, established by law;
- guarantee integral reparation, which cannot be limited to financial aid, to the victims, with sensitivity to a gender-based approach;
- guarantee freedom of expression and take the appropriate measures to prevent any restraints to the activities of the families of the victims;
- protect members of the associations of the victims and their families against any attempts to violate their physical and moral integrity which could take place because of their activities;
- set up a Commission for Truth, Peace and Conciliation in Algeria, implementing the conclusions and recommendations of the Seminar held in Brussels on March 18th and 19th 2007.
Geneva, March 6, 2009.