Prevention of torture on the right track in Algeria

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

The National Human Rights Commission of Algeria called upon its government to join states determined to prevent torture and ill-treatment at a workshop jointly organised with the Association for the Prevention of Torture (APT) and the United Nations held in Algiers on February 13-14 2013.

"Torture serves neither justice nor security" stated Mr. Farouk Ksentini, chairman of the National Consultative Commission for the protection and promotion of Human Rights in Algeria, in his opening statement at the workshop. He highlighted the significant progress the country had made in the field of human rights, freedom and in strengthening the rule of law. In his opinion, the best way to counter the threat of terrorism is to strengthen the rule of law and to commit to the latest treaties that Algeria has not yet ratified.

"As an influential body we will do our utmost to ensure that Algeria ratifies the Optional Protocol to the UN Convention against Torture", he concluded.

"Nothing prevents OPCAT ratification"

During the two-day workshop, government and civil society representatives discussed with national and international experts on the innovative aspects and the preventive approach outlined in the OPCAT. The workshop specifically focused on the practical aspects of this treaty and on the procedure of preventive visits conducted by independent national authorities, so called National Preventive Mechanisms. Participants learned, among other things, about the outcomes of visits made to prisons by the National Consultative Commission for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights (the CNCPPDH).

"Since we already have an independent national authority in place nothing prevents us from ratifying the treaty," concluded Professor Abdelmajid Zalaani, a CNCPPDH member.

The workshop ended with recommendations where all participants encouraged the government to start the process leading towards ratification of the OPCAT.

This event was a follow-up event to the visit to Algeria in September 2012 by Navi Pillay, UN's High Commissioner for Human Rights. At a press conference on 19 September in Algiers, the UN official said: “I am delighted that Algeria has ratified almost all major international human rights treaty rights. During my visit the government has expressed interest in ratifying two key treaties that have not yet been ratified, including the OPCAT.”