A transit center for migrants who are being sent home from Algeria in Agadez, Niger | Photo: ANSA/UNICEF
A transit center for migrants who are being sent home from Algeria in Agadez, Niger | Photo: ANSA/UNICEF

Arbitrary arrests and expulsions of migrants have risen to a historic high in Algeria, Amnesty International says. The human rights organization has called on Algerian authorities to comply with international conventions.

Arbitrary arrests and mass expulsions of migrants from sub-Saharan Africa have risen to an all-time high in Algeria - even though these practices clearly go against UN rules regarding migrants and refugees, Amnesty International says. These UN rules include the Refugee Convention (which the country ratified in 1951) and the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Their Family Members. 

In a recent report, Amnesty International collected the accounts of sub-Saharan African migrants who reported being forcibly expelled. The organization said that Algerian authorities urgently need to halt mass arbitrary expulsions to Niger and Mali. 

No legal framework for migrant workers 

Amnesty International noted that, over the past two decades, Algeria has become a country of transit and the final destination for many citizens of western and central African countries seeking work opportunities, especially in construction and agriculture. 

However, despite the large number of sub-Saharan migrants, asylum seekers and refugees in the country, Algeria still does not have a clear legal framework for migrant workers. The country does, however, have a law that criminalizes irregular migration - migrants can be sent to prison for up to five years. 

Amnesty calls on Algeria to halt mass arrests 

In its report, Amnesty International urged Algeria to ensure the implementation of procedural guarantees in the case of expulsion, including the right to suspension in case of appeal. 

The human rights organization also asked Algeria to change its regulations to...
... explicitly ban collective expulsions
... de-penalize the irregular entrance, stay and exit of migrants
... ensure the international protection of UNHCR-recognized asylum seekers and refugees
... guarantee migrants, asylum seekers and refugees access to the justice system and reimbursement in the case of illegal arrest, detention and expulsion. 
 

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