The UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) has called on the Algerian government to cease collective expulsions of thousands of migrants, in particular those from sub-Saharan Africa. It said the country's conduct is in violation of international human rights laws.
In early May, a UN human rights team visited various cities in neighboring Niger, where they interviewed 25 migrants and other witnesses, who described how the Algerian authorities had carried out "mass round-ups".
Round-ups in various cities
"What is particularly worrying is that most of the people we spoke to said that they were not subjected to individualized assessments, and were not informed of the reasons for their detention, nor were they allowed to pick up their belongings, passports or money before they were expelled," said OHCHR spokeswoman Ravina Shamdasani. She said many had to leave behind everything they had. Shamdasani said round-ups took place during March and April of this year in the cities of Oran and Boufarik as well as the Duira neighborhood of Algiers.
"Raids are reportedly carried out on construction sites in Algiers, as well as in neighborhoods known to be populated by the migrants. Some also reported having been stopped in the street and detained," she said. While some were transferred to Niger rapidly, others were detained in military bases and structures where detention conditions were reported to be inhumane and degrading, OHCHR said.
Appeal to respect human rights
"The collective expulsion of migrants, without individual assessment or any due process guarantees, is deeply alarming and not in line with Algeria's obligations under international human rights law, including the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families, which Algeria has ratified," Shamdasani said.
"We urge Algeria to implement the recommendations made by the Committee on Migrant Workers in April, including to explicitly prohibit collective expulsions and establish monitoring mechanisms to ensure that expulsions of migrant workers are carried out in strict compliance with international standards," she said. "The Committee also called on Algeria to ensure respect for the right to seek asylum and the principle of non-refoulement," she said, referring to the practice of forced repatriation to the migrants' countries of origin.