The Algerian government has forbidden EuroMed Rights from conducting a mission on the state of rights and freedoms in Tindouf camps, southwestern Algeria.
After conducting a mission on the state of rights and freedoms in Moroccan Sahara in September 2014 whose outcomes were detailed in a report, EuroMed Rights wished to conduct another mission on the state of rights and freedoms in Tindouf camps in Algeria, the network said in a statement.
This second mission was prepared ahead and included meetings with international NGOs in the field, and tours of various institutions, including the penitentiary, the network said, adding that it was to be an opportunity to enter into direct contact with individuals, whether witnesses or victims of possible human rights violations.
It noted that since the camps are located on the Algerian territory, EuroMed Rights unsuccessfully attempted to obtain visas from the Algerian authorities twice over the past few months trying to obtain visas from the Algerian authorities.
“These unsuccessful attempts were due to the late announcement of the issue of the visas, and the refusal to issue a visa to at least one of the mission’s members”, EuroMed pointed out.
On the third attempt, when it seemed that visas had been granted to all of the delegation’s members, the embassy of Algeria in Brussels stated that all visas granted had been cancelled, barely ten days before the date of departure, EuroMed noted, adding that to date, the Algerian authorities have not sent a letter containing the explanations that had been promised.
“EuroMed Rights can only take note of the ban notified to it by the Algerian government”, the network said, adding that it will therefore be unable to verify the actual state of rights and freedoms in the refugee camps and investigate the allegations of human rights violations of which it was informed.
“It is deeply regrettable that the Algerian authorities have impeded this investigation”, it said.
Reflecting on the exact reasons that led the Algerian authorities to refuse the visa applications, EuroMed Rights “can only note that the Algerian authorities have interfered in a situation that does not concern them”.
EuroMed is a network of more than 80 human rights organizations, institutions and individuals based in 30 countries in the Euro-Mediterranean.
Created in 1997 in response to the Barcelona Declaration and the establishment of the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership, the network stands by universal human rights principles and strongly believes in the value of cooperation and dialogue across and within borders.