The Committee considered the initial report of Algeria
on articles 1 to 15 of the Covenant (E/1990/5/Add.22)
at its 46th and 47th meetings on 30 November 1995
and at its 48th meeting on 1 December 1995 and, at
its 58th meeting on 8 December 1995, adopted the following
The Committee thanks the State party for its initial
report, for the written replies to the Committee's
list of issues and for the quality of the dialogue
with the Algerian delegation, whose open-mindedness
and cooperation are appreciated.
The Committee notes that, despite the country's economic,
social and security problems, the State party has
submitted a detailed initial report on the constitutional
and legislative provisions designed to protect and
promote the economic, social and cultural rights of
the inhabitants of Algeria.
B. Positive aspects
The Committee notes with satisfaction that article
123 of the Algerian Constitution recognizes the Covenant's
precedence over domestic law in the internal legal
system. The Committee also welcomes the fact that
the provisions of the Covenant may be directly invoked
in the courts.
The specific commitments to human rights which the
State party has made in recent years are also noted
with satisfaction. They include the establishment
in 1992 of the National Human Rights Observatory,
the establishment of the Office of the High Commissioner
for Amazighité (Berbers) in May 1995, the training
of judges in human rights and the establishment of
human rights professorships at the university level.
The Committee takes note of the statement by the delegation
to the effect that the state of emergency in Algeria
does not affect any of the rights guaranteed by the
Covenant, particularly trade union freedom and the
right to strike, which are guaranteed under Algerian
law. The Committee also takes note of the fact that
associations are flourishing and new trade unions
have been formed.
The Committee expresses its satisfaction that efforts
have been made to adopt a set of measures to promote
job creation and attenuate the effects of structural
adjustment for vulnerable groups. In particular, the
recent establishment of a system of social protection
("safety net") for the unemployed is noted
with appreciation. The Committee further notes with
encouragement the Algerian Government's unswerving
commitment to social protection and the statement
in the Government's written replies that the proportion
of the budget hitherto allocated to support of loss-making
enterprises will be redirected towards the most disadvantaged
groups in society.
The Committee takes note with satisfaction of the
considerable progress in education achieved by the
State party since independence and of the low school
drop-out rate. The progress made in respect of education
includes a steady and substantial increase in the
rate of school attendance by girls. The Committee
takes note with interest of the introduction of instruction
in the Amazigh (Berber) language since the
beginning of the 1995-1996 school year.
The Committee appreciates the fact that, despite difficult
domestic conditions, the destruction of almost 600
schools (ECOSOC E/ICEF 1995 P/L.30) and the danger
teachers and students face every day, the latter are
not discouraged from continuing to teach and study.
The progress that Algeria has been making in respect
of education despite these difficult circumstances
must be appreciated and encouraged.
The Committee takes note of the statement by the delegation
that the process of ratification of the Convention
on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination
against Women is under way.
The Committee notes with satisfaction that the Algerian
authorities have begun to pay more attention to allocate
greater resources for the construction of housing,
particularly for low-income groups.
C. Factors and difficulties impeding the
implementation of the Covenant
The Committee notes that the implementation of the
economic, social and cultural rights guaranteed by
the Covenant has been seriously hampered by the grave
economic crisis which the country is undergoing. The
on hydrocarbons, the foreign debt and the drought
that has affected agriculture are recurring constraints
which have an impact on the State budget and social
The Committee also notes that the high population
growth rate has led to a rapid increase in the number
of job applicants, thereby increasing unemployment.
Lastly, the Committee notes that the acts of terrorism
which are affecting the very heart of Algerian society
are liable to impede its human development and its
capacity for promoting the realization of economic,
social and cultural rights.
D. Principal subjects of concern
The Committee expresses its deep concern about the
political turmoil in daily life in Algeria, which
is impeding the full realization of the rights guaranteed
in the Covenant.
The Committee is deeply concerned by the fact that
the philosophy of the Covenant, based on the principle
of non-discrimination and on the idea of the universality
of human rights, has not fully taken root in Algerian
society. Furthermore, many forms of discrimination
against women, both in legislation and in everyday
life, prevent women from exercising their economic,
social and cultural rights.
The Committee also deplores the fact that such fundamental
freedoms as the right to work, to education, to freedom
of movement, and the right freely to choose a spouse
are not fully guaranteed for Algerian women. The violence
exercised against women in the family, and outside
the family by fanatical groups, is of profound concern
to the Committee. A husband's absolute right to keep
the conjugal home in the case of divorce is a further
subject of concern.
The Committee expresses its great concern at the high
rate of unemployment, which, according to the information
contained in the Government's written replies to the
Committee's questions, could exceed 30 per cent in
1995. The Committee also notes that this rate is continually
The Committee notes with concern that family violence,
of which women are the principal victims, continues
to be a problem of society in Algeria, insufficiently
addressed by the authorities in terms of either prevention
or punishment. The Committee also deplores the fact
that children born out of wedlock are subjected to
de jure and de facto discrimination.
The Committee notes with concern the serious shortage
of housing and the precarious conditions of accommodation
of a substantial part of the population, which affects
enjoyment of the right to adequate housing as provided
for in the Covenant.
The Committee is concerned to note the high mortality
rate among young girls in the 1-10 age group, which,
as acknowledged by the Government, is due to the fact
that better care is provided for boys.
E. Suggestions and recommendations
The Committee, while being aware of the extremely
difficult political and social context in which the
Algerian Government is discharging its functions,
it to be of the utmost importance that special attention
be given to the problem of discrimination against
women, in particular as it exists in legislation.
The Committee recommends that the radical economic
reforms undertaken by the Government be continuously
assessed in terms of the realization of the economic,
social and cultural rights of all Algerians, and that
special priority be given to the smooth application
of social policies designed to counteract the adverse
effects of structural adjustments.
The Committee recommends that extensive consciousness-raising
campaigns be launched to prevent family violence.
Adequate information should also be provided to the
victims of such violence, with regard to their right
to obtain compensation.
The Committee encourages the Algerian Government to
pursue an energetic housing policy, so as to make
progress towards the full realization of the right
to adequate housing.
The Committee also requests the Government to take
all necessary measures to ensure that girls are fully
able to exercise their right to education and to mental
and physical health. Such measures should be accompanied
by the setting up of a data-collection system enabling
their impact to be assessed.
The Committee recommends that measures be taken to
include human rights instruction in school curricula,
especially in primary schools, in conformity with
the goals and objectives of the United Nations Decade
for Human Rights Education, and that those responsible
for enforcing the law should be given instruction
in human rights.
The Committee recommends that the State party's second
periodic report contain more information regarding
the effective implementation of the rights guaranteed
in the Covenant. The Committee reminds the Government
in this connection of the possibility of making use
of the advisory services of the Centre for Human Rights,
which offers training in the drafting of the reports
required under international instruments.