The Human Truth Foundation

Human Rights, Equality and Freedom in Algeria

By Vexen Crabtree 2018

#Algeria #equality #freedom #human_rights #islam #islamic_extremism #politics #tolerance

Algeria
People's Democratic Republic of Algeria

[Country Profile Page]
StatusIndependent State
Social and Moral Index124th best
CapitalAlgiers
Land Area2 381 740km21
LocationAfrica, The Mediterranean
Population42.2m2
Life Expectancy75.03yrs (2017)3
GNI$13 533 (2017)4
ISO3166-1 CodesDZ, DZA, 125
Internet Domain.dz6
CurrencyDinar (DZD)7
Telephone+2138

Algeria is amongst the worst places in the world at ensuring human rights and freedom, and it has severe cultural issues when it comes to tolerance and equality. Algeria does better than average in its nominal commitment to Human Rights9 and in speed of uptake of HR treaties10. But that's it. Algeria has problems. It does worse than average for opposing gender inequality11 (still low for Africa) and in supporting press freedom12. And finally, it falls into the worst-performing 20 in its success in fighting anti-semitic prejudice13 (one of the highest in Africa), commentary in Human Rights Watch reports14, supporting personal, civil & economic freedoms15 (amongst the worst in Africa) and in LGBT equality16. A strictly Islamic country, those who do not believe the right things (2011) are harassed, intimidated and persecuted17. Severe restrictions exist on religious freedom and freedom of belief. A wide range of legal measures are used to stifle free speech, especially anything that criticizes the government, its staff, or Islam18,19.


1. Algeria's Human Rights, Equality & Tolerance

#equality #human_rights #morals #politics #prejudice #tolerance

Human Rights, Equality & Tolerance (2020)20,21
Pos.Lower is better
Avg Rank20,21
1Denmark9.7
2Sweden10.0
3Norway16.1
...
132Sierra Leone109.6
133Saudi Arabia110.1
134Laos110.6
135Algeria110.6
136Bangladesh110.7
137Egypt110.7
138Fiji110.7
139UAE112.4
140Uzbekistan113.3
World Avg89.8
q=199.

The best countries in the world at ensuring human rights, fostering equality and promoting tolerance, are Denmark, Sweden and Norway20. These countries are displaying the best traits that humanity has to offer. The worst countries are Tuvalu, The Solomon Islands and Palestine20.

The data sets used to calculate points for each country are statistics on commentary in Human Rights Watch reports, its nominal commitment to Human Rights, speed of uptake of HR treaties, supporting personal, civil & economic freedoms, supporting press freedom, eliminating modern slavery, opposing gender inequality, the year from which women could participate in democracy, its success in fighting anti-semitic prejudice and LGBT equality. The regions with the best average results per country are Scandinavia, Baltic States and Europe20, whereas the worst are Micronesia, Melanesia and Australasia20.

2. Human Rights & Tolerance Data Sets

Despite constitutional amendments passed in 2016, Algerian authorities continued to resort in 2017 to criminal prosecutions for peaceful speech, using articles in the penal code criminalizing "offending the president," "insulting state officials," and "denigrating Islam" as well as other articles on sharing "intelligence with foreign powers." They have also continued to ban demonstrations in Algiers.

"World Report 2018" by Human Rights Watch (2018)22

2.1. Human Rights Watch Comments

#human_rights

Human Rights Watch Comments (2017)14
Pos.Higher is better
Score14
1UK9
2France9
3Germany9
...
105Ethiopia-7
106Russia-8
107Turkmenistan-8
108Algeria-8
109Central African Rep.-8
110Myanmar (Burma)-9
111Eritrea-9
112Somalia-9
World Avg-1.9
q=123.

Human Rights Watch comments concentrate mostly on negative issues, however, they also make positive comments for those countries that engage in human rights defence around the world, or who make improvements at home. By adding up positive and negative comments (including double-points for negatives that involve large scales and crimes against humanity), the Social and Moral Index turns HRW commentary into quantified values. Some countries may be unfairly penalized because HRW have not examined them, and, some countries "get away" with abuses if they manage to hide it, or if it goes unnoticed - a negative point has been given for those countries in which HRW specifically state that access to investigators has been barred. The points were limited to a minimum of -10 because there are some points at which things are so bad, with abuses affecting so many, it is difficult to be more specific about the depths of the issues.

2.2. Nominal Commitment to HR

#human_rights

Nominal Commitment to HR (2009)9
Pos.Higher is better
Treaties9
1Argentina24
2Chile23
3Costa Rica23
...
67Moldova18
68Kyrgyzstan18
69Philippines18
70Algeria18
71Malta18
72Tunisia18
73Niger18
74El Salvador18
World Avg15.1
q=194.

There are many international agreements on human rights, and, many mechanisms by which countries can be brought to account for their actions. Together, these have been the biggest historical movement in the fight against oppression and inhumanity. Or, putting it another way: these are rejected mostly by those who wish to oppress inhumanely. None of them are perfect and many people object to various components and wordings, but, no-one has come up with, and enforced, better methods of controlling the occasional desires that states and peoples have of causing angst for other states and peoples in a violent, unjust or inhumane way. Points are awarded for the number of human rights agreements ratified by the country, plus the acceptance of the petition mechanisms for disputes. The maximum possible score in 2009 was 24.

2.3. HR Treaties Lag

#human_rights #international_law #micronesia #politics #small_islands

HR Treaties Lag (2019)10
Pos.Lower is better
Avg Yrs/Treaty10
1Ecuador2.15
2Uruguay2.25
3Tunisia3.65
...
90S. Korea9.89
91Niger9.89
92Barbados9.94
93Algeria9.95
94St Vincent & Grenadines9.98
95Azerbaijan10.08
96Lebanon10.14
97Afghanistan10.23
World Avg10.02
q=195.

Human Rights (HR) Treaties Lag is a count of how long it took each country to sign each of 11 key HR treaties. From the date of the first signatory of each treaty, all other countries have one point added to their score for each day they delayed in signing. Results are presented as average time in years to sign each one. The lower a country's score, the more enthusiastically it has taken on international Human Rights Treaties - which are, of course, minimal standards of good governance. The slowest are the countries of Micronesia, Melanesia, Australasia and Polynesia all lagged by over 12 years per treaty. The best regions are The Americas, Scandinavia and the Mediterranean.

2.4. Personal, Civil & Economic Freedom

#freedom #politics

Personal, Civil & Economic Freedom (2014)15
Pos.Lower is better
Rank15
1Hong Kong1
2Switzerland2
3New Zealand3
...
149Guinea149
150Angola150
151Congo, DR151
152Algeria152
153Myanmar (Burma)153
154Venezuela154
155Central African Rep.155
156Syria156
World Avg79.7
q=159.

The Human Freedom Index published by the Fraser Institute is...

... a broad measure of human freedom, understood as the absence of coercive constraint. It uses 79 distinct indicators of personal and economic freedom in the following areas: Rule of Law, Security and Safety, Movement, Religion, Association, Assembly, and Civil Society, Expression, Relationships, Size of Government, Legal System and Property Rights, Access to Sound Money, Freedom to Trade Internationally, Regulation of Credit, Labor, and Business. [...]

The highest levels of freedom are in Western Europe, Northern Europe, and North America (Canada and the United States. The lowest levels are in the Middle East and North Africa, South Asia, and sub-Saharan Africa. [...]

Countries in the top quartile of freedom enjoy a significant higher per capita income ($37,147) [compared with] the least-free quartile [at] $8,700). The HFI finds a strong correlation between human freedom and democracy.

"The Human Freedom Index" by The Fraser Institute (2016)23

2.5. Press Freedom

#democracy #freedom #mass_media #politics #UK

Press Freedom (2013)12
Pos.Lower is better12
1Finland638
2Netherlands648
3Norway652
...
121Brunei3545
122Tajikistan3571
123S. Sudan3620
124Algeria3654
125Ukraine3679
126Honduras3692
127Afghanistan3736
128Colombia3748
World Avg3249
q=178.

The freedom to investigate, publish information, and have access to others' opinion is a fundamental part of today's information-driven world. Scores on the Press Freedom Index are calculated according to indicators including pluralism - the degree to which opinions are represented in the media, media independence of authorities, self-censorship, legislation, transparency and the infrastructure that supports news and information, and, the level of violence against journalists which includes lengths of imprisonments. The index "does not take direct account of the kind of political system but it is clear that democracies provide better protection for the freedom to produce and circulate accurate news and information than countries where human rights are flouted".

It must be noted that press freedom is not an indicator of press quality and the press itself can be abusive; the UK suffers in particular from a popular brand of nasty reporting that infuses several of its newspapers who are particularly prone to running destructive and often untrue campaigns against victims. The Press Freedom Index notes that "the index should in no way be taken as an indicator of the quality of the media in the countries concerned".

2.6. Slavery

#burundi #eritrea #france #human_rights #indonesia #slavery

Slavery (2018)24
Pos.Lower is better
% Victims24
1Japan0.03
2Canada0.05
3Taiwan0.05
...
52Jamaica0.26
53Mexico0.27
54Colombia0.27
55Algeria0.27
56Barbados0.27
57China0.28
58S. Africa0.28
59Slovakia0.29
World Avg0.65
q=167.

The taking of slaves has been an unwholesome feature of Human cultures since prehistory25. Private households and national endeavours have frequently been augmented with the use of slaves. The Egyptian and Roman empires both thrived on them for both purposes. Aside from labourers they are often abused sexually by their owners and their owners' friends26. The era of colonialism and the beginnings of globalisation changed nothing: the imprisonment and forced movements of labour continued to destroy many lives except that new justifications were invented based on Christian doctrine and the effort to convert non-Christians. By 1786 over 12 million slaves had been extracted from Africa and sent to colonial labour camps, with a truly atrocious condition of life27. But they were not the only ones to blame; in Africa internal nations such as the Asantes sold and bought tens of thousands of slaves28.

The abolition of the slave trade was a long and slow process. Until a relatively modern time, even philosophers, religious leaders and those concerned with ethics justified, or ignored, the problem of slavery29. The first abolitionists were always the slaves themselves. Their protests and rebellions caused the industry to become too expensive to continue. After that, it was the economic costs of maintain slave colonies that led the British to reject and then oppose the slave trade globally. Finally, the enlightenment-era thinkers of France encouraged moral and ethical thinking including the declaration of the inherent value of human life and human dignity30. A long-overdue wave of compassionate and conscientious movements swept across the West, eliminating public support for slavery, until the industries and churches that supported it had no choice but to back down.

'Modern slavery' includes forced labour (often of the under-age), debt bondage (especially generational), sexual slavery, chattel slavery and other forms of abuse, some of which can be surprisingly difficult to detect, but often target those fleeing from warzones and the vulnerable.31. Some industries (diamond, clothing, coal) from some countries (Burundi24, Eritrea24, Indonesia32) are a particular concern. The Walk Free Foundation, say that in 2016, 40.3 million people were living in modern slavery33.

3. Gender Equality Data Sets

Algeria has made some steps towards ending gender inequality but much more needs to be done.

See:

3.1. Gender Inequality

#gender #gender_equality #human_rights #misogyny #women

Gender Inequality (2015)11
Pos.Lower is better11
1Switzerland0.04
2Denmark0.04
3Netherlands0.04
...
91Kyrgyzstan0.39
92Brazil0.41
93Jamaica0.42
94Algeria0.43
95Botswana0.44
96Philippines0.44
97Samoa0.44
98Bolivia0.45
World Avg0.36
q=159.

The UN Human Development Reports include statistics on gender equality which take into account things like maternal mortality, access to political power (seats in parliament) and differences between male and female education rates. Gender inequality is not a necessary part of early human development. Although a separation of roles is almost universal due to different strengths between the genders, this does not have to mean that women are subdued, and, such patriarchialism is not universal in ancient history. Those cultures and peoples who shed, or never developed, the idea that mankind ought to dominate womankind, are better cultures and peoples than those who, even today, cling violently to those mores.

3.2. Year Women Can Vote

#christianity #gender_equality #human_rights #politics #women

Year Women Can Vote
Pos.Lower is better
Year
1New Zealand1893
2Australia1902
3Finland1906
...
135Zambia1962
136Uganda1962
137Monaco1962
138Algeria1962
139Morocco1963
140Iran1963
141Kenya1963
142Fiji1963
World Avg1930
q=189.

Women now have equal rights in the vast majority of countries across the world. Although academic literature oftens talks of when a country "grants women the right to vote", this enforces a backwards way of thinking. Women always had the right to vote, however, they were frequently denied that right. The opposition to women's ability to vote in equality with man was most consistently and powerfully opposed by the Catholic Church, other Christian organisations, Islamic authorities and some other religious and secular traditionalists.

4. Prejudice Data Sets

4.1. Anti-Semite Opinions

#antisemitism #christianity #germany #indonesia #israel #jordan #judaism #laos #morocco #netherlands #pakistan #philippines #religion #religious_violence #saudi_arabia #spain #sweden #turkey #UK #vietnam

Anti-Semite Opinions (2014)13
Pos.Lower is better
%13
1Laos0
2Philippines3
3Sweden4
...
94Jordan81
95Bahrain81
96Kuwait82
97Tunisia86
98Algeria87
99Libya87
100Yemen88
101Iraq92
World Avg36.8
q=101.

Anti-Semitism is the world given to irrational racism against Jews. It is not the same as anti-Judaism (involving arguments against the religion) nor the same as anti-Zionism (arguments against Israel). In history, influential Christian theologians concocted the arguments against Jews that led, very early on, to widespread Christian action against Jews34,35,36,37. As Christianity rose to power in the West and presided over the Dark Ages, there were widespread violent outbursts against Jews of the most persistent and horrible kind. The Crusades were frequently aimed at them and the feared Spanish Inquisition paid Jews particular attention. The horror of the holocaust instigated by German Nazis in the 1940s was followed (finally) by the era of European human rights and a movement against racism in general.

The places that are the least anti-Semitical are a few countries of south-east Asia (Laos, the Philippines and Vietnam) and some of the secular liberal democracies of Europe (Sweden, the Netherlands and the UK). The worst countries for antisemitism are Islamic states of the Middle East38, which are undergoing their own Dark Age. Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Morocco, Indonesia, Pakistan and Turkey see the most oppressive and violent actions towards Jews39,40. Jews in Muslim countries face a host of restrictions and "ceaseless humiliation and regular pogroms"41. In 2004 the European Union Monitoring Center on Racism and Xenophobia reported on violent anti-Jew crimes in the EU and found that that largest group of perpetrators were young Muslim males42.

4.2. LGBT Equality

#equality #homosexuality #human_rights #intolerance #sexuality #tolerance

LGBT Equality (2017)16
Pos.Higher is better
Score16
1Netherlands103
2Belgium90
3Sweden86
...
181Mauritania-32
182UAE-34
183Kuwait-37
184Algeria-37
185Tunisia-39
186Guinea-39
187Cameroon-39
188Senegal-39
World Avg12.6
q=196.

Discrimination against Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) folk is rife across the world. Legal restrictions co-exist alongside social stigmatisation and physical violence43. LGBT tolerance and equal rights have been fought for country-by-country across the world, often against tightly entrenched cultural and religious opposition. Adult consensual sexual activity is a Human Right, protected by privacy laws44. Despite this, homosexual activity is outlawed in around 80 countries43. The Social & Moral LGBT Equality Index was created to compare countries and regions, granting points to each country for a variety of factors including how long gay sex has been criminalized and the extent of LGBT legal rights. Graded negative points are given for criminality of homosexuality, unequal ages of consent, legal punishments and for not signing international accords on LGBT tolerance. The signs in many developed countries are positive, and things are gradually improving. Europe is by far the least prejudiced region (Scandinavia in particular being exemplary). The Middle East and then Africa are the least morally developed, where cultural bias goes hand-in-hand with state intolerance, all too often including physical violence.

5. Freedom of Belief and Religion

#algeria #islam #religion_in_algeria #religion_in_south_africa #south_africa

When it comes to religious freedom and persecution, sociologists Grim & Finke place Algeria into the worst category, along with just 13 other countries17. Under the premise of Islam, severe restrictions on religious freedom and freedom of belief stem both from government decree19 and from social pressure17. The small Islamic Ahmadi sect, for example, had over 266 of its members prosecuted and the charges included "denigrating the precepts of Islam"18 because they did not strictly adhere to the state's version of Islam.

The International Humanist and Ethical Union produced a report entitled "Freedom of Thought" (2012)19, in which they document bias and prejudice at the national level that is based on religion, belief and/or lack of belief. Their entry for Algeria states:

The constitution and other laws and policies protect freedom of religion or belief. However, Algeria's constitution also makes Islam the official religion. Its penal code disallows persons from insulting religious sentiments or inciting hatred against religion. The country also has a Ministry of Religious Affairs that works to ban any publishing and broadcasting content deemed blasphemous.

"Freedom of Thought" by IHEU (2012)19

Human Rights Watch report for 2017 says this:

More than 266 members of Algeria´s tiny Ahmadi minority have been prosecuted since June 2016, and some imprisoned for up to six months. Senior government officials have at times claimed that Ahmadis represent a threat to the majority Sunni Muslim faith, and accused them of collusion with foreign powers.

Authorities charged them under one or more of the following charges: denigrating the dogma or precepts of Islam; participating in an unauthorized association; collecting donations without a license [and] at least 20 have faced a charge of practicing religion in an unauthorized place of worship under Algeria´s 2006 law governing non-Muslim religions, even though Ahmadis consider themselves to be Muslim. [... The court] sentenced Mohamed Fali, the president of the community, to a term of six months in prison, suspended, and a fine.

"World Report 2018" by Human Rights Watch (2018)18