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HRWF (11.12.2020) – 28 institutions as well as scholars, religious leaders and human rights advocates sign an open letter to the President of Algeria.

 

To:

 

Mr Abdelmadjid Tebboune

 

President of the People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria

Copies to:

 

  • Kishan Manocha, Head, Tolerance and Non-Discrimination Department, OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights

 

  • Ahmed Shaheed, UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief

 

  • Eamon Gilmore, EU Special Representative for Human Rights

 

Re: Freedom of Religion or Belief in Algeria  

 

Dear Mr President,

 

We write as an informal group of organizations and individuals who are scholars, religious leaders and human rights advocates. We are from many faiths or acting in a secular capacity, representing a high degree of diversity. While there is very little we agree on theologically, or politically, we all agree on the importance of religious freedom for all faiths and none.

 

We write to you concerning what we perceive as violations of freedom of religion and belief of Christians in Algeria, including the closure of numerous churches and a failure to renew the registration of the association of Protestant Churches in Algeria (Église Protestante d’Algérie, EPA).

 

Since January 2018, 13 churches have been sealed and 7 more churches have been ordered to close (see list copied below). These churches are closed because they lack the required permit to hold non-Muslim religious worship services. However, the National Commission for Non-Muslim Religious Groups, which is responsible for issuing these permits, has so far failed to issue a single permit to EPA-affiliated churches.

 

This clearly shows that the Algerian authorities up to now have not taken genuine steps to improve freedom of religion and belief in Algeria. This despite many requests from the international community to do so.

 

We welcome the recent passing of the new constitution following the referendum of 1 November 2020. The new constitution clearly seeks to further strengthen human rights in Algeria, including the freedom of worship (Arts. 34 and 51 of the constitution).

 

We hope that this development will lead to an improvement of human rights and freedom of religion and belief in law and in practice.

 

We respectfully request your intervention to ensure that:

 

  • all the closed church buildings will be re-opened and Christians be allowed to have places of worship.
  • the Algerian authorities process the EPA’s registration application without delay, accept this application and provide official documentation to confirm the EPA’s registration as the representative association of all Protestant churches in Algeria
  • All warnings, closure orders and court cases against churches are withdrawn, and permission is granted to all churches to continue to use rented premises as places of worship.
  • the Commission for Non-Muslim Worship will function efficiently and fairly, that pending applications from churches are considered urgently, and that responses to future applications are made within the designated 60-day period.

 

We would welcome a response from you on these matters, and assurance that the Algerian Government respects the rights of its citizens to freedom of religion and belief.

 

Yours Sincerely,

 

 

Organizations:

 

Ahmadiyya Muslim Community UK

 

CAP Freedom of Conscience

 

CESNUR – Center for Studies on New Religions

 

Charter For Compassion – Yemen

 

Christian Freedom International

 

Christian Solidarity Worldwide – UK

 

Church of Scientology National Affairs Office Washington, DC

 

Coptic Solidarity

 

Danish European Mission

 

European Interreligious Forum for Religious Freedom

 

European Office of the Church of Scientology for Public Affairs and Human Rights

 

Fundacion para la Mejora de la Vida, la Cultura y la Sociedad

 

Gerard Noodt Foundation for Freedom of Religion or Belief

 

HRWF – Human Rights Without Frontiers Int’l

 

Institute on Religion and Democracy

 

Jubilee Campaign

 

Middle East Concern

 

Oasis Network for Community Transformation

 

Open Doors International

 

ORLIR – International Observatory of Religious Liberty of Refugees

 

Religious Freedom Coalition

 

Religious Freedom Institute

 

Set My People Free

 

Stefanus Alliance

 

United Macedonian Diaspora

 

Universal Peace Federation Netherlands

 

United Religions Initiative URI – Yemen

 

White Mountain Research Group 

 

Individuals:

 

Naseer Ahmed

Missionary

French Ahmadiyya Association

 

Eileen Barker OBE

Professor Emeritus

London School of Economics

 

Rev. Brian Britton

Harvest Family Network

 

  1. Todd Chasteen

Vice President of Public Policy and General Counsel

Samaritan’s Purse

 

The Most Reverend Joseph K. Grieboski

Secretary for Ecumenical, Interfaith, and Global Engagement

Vicar Apostolic, Holy Land and Appointed Territories

Auxiliary Bishop, Diocese of the Eastern USA

Independent Old Catholic Church

 

Gail Hambleton

Senior Program Specialist

Values-based Peacebuilding

Global Peace Foundation, International

 

Dr. Muhammad Ilyas

Chairman IDRAC

International Dialogue Research & Awareness Centre

 

Jonathan Imbody

Director

Freedom2Care

 

Paul Marshall Wilson

Professor

Baylor University

 

Faith J. H. McDonnell

Co-Leader

GAFCON Suffering Church Network & Anglican Persecuted Church Network

 

Scott Morgan

President

Red Eagle Enterprises

 

William J. Murray

President

Religious Freedom Coalition

 

Bachittar Singh Ughrha

Founder and President

Center for defence of human rights

Founder and Vice President

Gurdwara (Sikh temple) Geneva, Switzerland

 

Martin Weightman

Director

All Faiths Network

 

Frans de Wolff

Secretary

Dutch Network for Interfaith Dialogue

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