1. The Committee
on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights considered the second periodic
report of Algeria on the implementation of the International Covenant
on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (E/1990/6/Add.26) at its 65th
and 66th meetings, held on 15 November 2001, and adopted, at its 81st
meeting, held on 27 November 2001, the following concluding observations.
2. The Committee
welcomes the second periodic report of the State party, which was prepared
in conformity with the Committee's guidelines. The Committee further welcomes
the open dialogue with the delegation, which was comprised of officials
from various ministries.
3. The Committee
regrets that written replies to the list of issues raised by the Committee
were not transmitted to the Secretariat in advance and that a number of
questions raised by the Committee were not answered satisfactorily by
B. Positive aspects
4. The Committee
commends the establishment this year of a new National Advisory Commission
for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights, the mandate of which
extends to economic, social and cultural rights.
5. The Committee
notes in particular the accession by the State party to the Convention
on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women in 1996.
6. The Committee
takes note of the launching by the Government of a three-year economic
recovery programme 2001-2004.
7. The Committee
welcomes the statement made by the delegation that the interpretative
declaration on article 8 of the Covenant will be withdrawn.
C. Factors and difficulties impeding the implementation of the Covenant
8. The Committee
takes note of the general climate of violence that has prevailed in Algeria
since 1992, as well as of the country's serious economic and social crisis.
The consequences of acts of terrorism, as well as the political and economic
crises, have been disastrous for the situation in the country in general
and for the enjoyment of economic, social, cultural and political rights
9. The Committee
further takes note of the adverse effects of the high foreign debt burden,
the requirements of structural adjustment programmes, and the recurring
droughts, on the ability of the State party to implement its obligations
under the Covenant.
D. Principal subjects of concern
10. The Committee
is deeply concerned at the continuing violence and acts of terrorism in
the country, which impede the full realization of the rights guaranteed
in the Covenant.
11. The Committee
notes with concern that no case-law on the application of the Covenant
exists and that the Covenant has not been invoked before national courts.
12. The Committee
is of the view that the various measures taken by the State party with
regard to the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action fall short of
the comprehensive national human rights plan of action called for by the
Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action.
13. The Committee
notes with concern that Arabic is the only official language in the State
party and that the Amazigh population continues to be denied the use of
their language at the official level. The Committee further notes the
announcement by the Government on 3 October 2001 that the Constitution
will be amended to make Amazigh a national language.
14. The Committee
is deeply concerned about the persisting discrimination in the political,
social and economic spheres of life against women in Algerian society,
and women's inferior position under the Family Code of the State party,
already referred to in its concluding observations on the initial report
of Algeria. In this regard, the Committee expresses its serious concern
about the considerable divergence existing in the State party between
constitutional provisions, on the one hand, and national legislation and
practice, on the other, particularly with regard to a number of discriminatory
provisions of the Family Code, including provisions on polygamy, unilateral
repudiation by the husband, the requirement of a guardian's consent for
marriage, the obligation of the wife to obey her husband, gender discrimination
with regard to inheritance, as well as the husband's absolute right to
keep the conjugal home in the case of divorce.
15. The Committee
is deeply concerned about the high rate of unemployment in the State party,
which has been estimated at over 29 per cent.
16. The Committee
notes with concern that an authorization is required from the Ministry
of Labour for the establishment of new independent trade unions outside
the recognized Union Générale des Travailleurs Algériens (UGTA).
17. The Committee
notes with concern the extent of violence in the family, of which women
are the principal victims, and the insufficient attention that is devoted
by the authorities to this problem in terms either of prevention or of
18. The Committee
is deeply concerned about the serious problem of poverty, as well as the
decline in the standard of living and the increase in poverty-related
diseases. The Committee expresses its profound concern about the inadequacy
of measures being taken to combat this problem.
19. The Committee
is deeply concerned about the acute housing shortage facing the Algerian
20. The Committee
notes with concern the steady decline in State expenditure on the health
care system, as well as the plan confirmed by the delegation to eliminate
subsidies for medicines. The Committee regrets that it did not receive
sufficient information on measures taken by the State party to ensure
access to health services.
21. The Committee
expresses its concern about the ineffectiveness of programmes to reduce
the maternal and infant mortality rate in the State party.
22. With regard
to education, the Committee is deeply concerned about the high drop-out
rates, which was acknowledged by the delegation during the dialogue with
23. The Committee
notes with concern the data in the Human Development Report 2001
that indicates a significant decrease in public spending on health and
education in the 1990s, as a percentage of both GNP and GDP, and relative
to military expenditure, which more than doubled as a percentage of GDP.
24. The Committee
expresses its concern that the State party has not provided sufficient
information on the measures it has taken in response to the suggestions
and recommendations made on its initial report (E/C.12/1995/17 of 28 December
1995). Many of the issues referred to in the concluding observations made
in 1995 remain subjects of concern in the present concluding observations.
E. Suggestions and Recommendations
25. The Committee
urges the State party to take, as a matter of priority, all steps necessary
to guarantee a full measure of security to all persons within its jurisdiction,
in order to fulfil its obligations under the Covenant and ensure the enjoyment
of the rights guaranteed therein.
26. The Committee
would welcome information on the National Advisory Commission for the
Promotion and Protection of Human Rights in the next periodic report,
including on its structure, mandate, powers and functioning.
27. In the light
of paragraph 71 of the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action, the
Committee recommends that the State party prepare, through an open and
consultative process, a comprehensive national human rights plan of action
regarding the implementation of its international human rights obligations,
including the Covenant. The State party is encouraged to seek technical
assistance from the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in
this regard. The Committee requests the State party to include information
on progress made in the elaboration of a national human rights plan of
action, as well as in its implementation, in its third periodic report.
28. The Committee
encourages the State party to preserve the language and culture of the
Amazigh population and to take appropriate steps to implement the plans
to accord constitutional status to the Amazigh language as a national
language, as announced by the Government on 3 October 2001. The Committee
furthermore recommends that the State party undertake measures towards
the recognition of the Amazigh language as an official language.
29. The Committee
urges the State party to undertake a radical reform of the Family Code
in order to give full recognition to the equal rights of women, to conduct
an information campaign on gender equality and to introduce gender mainstreaming
into all its legislation in accordance with the provisions of the Covenant.
30. The Committee
recommends that the State party withdraw the interpretative declarations
on articles 8 and 13.
31. The Committee
urges the State party to formulate an effective strategy to address the
acute problem of unemployment and to adopt and implement guidance and
training programmes so as to ensure that young people and the unemployed
can secure employment.
32. The Committee
urges the State party to eliminate the various obstacles hampering the
establishment of new and independent trade unions.
33. The Committee
recommends that the State party adopt a national strategy to combat family
violence, including awareness-raising campaigns geared towards the public
at large, data collection, enactment of relevant legislation, and training
courses for the police forces and the judiciary.
34. The Committee
urges the State party to allot a large share of the national budget surplus
to the State party's struggle against poverty. The Committee furthermore
urges the State party to fully integrate human rights, including economic,
social and cultural rights, in the formulation of a national strategy
for poverty reduction. In this regard, the Committee refers the State
party to the statement adopted by the Committee on 4 May 2001 on poverty
and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
35. The Committee
urges the State party to address the acute housing shortage, including
through the adoption of a strategy and plan of action and through the
construction of more low-cost housing units. In this connection, the Committee
reminds the State party of its obligations under article 11 of the Covenant
and refers to its General Comment No. 4 (1991) on the right to adequate
housing (art. 11, para. 1 of the Covenant).
36. The Committee
invites the State party to provide information, in its next periodic report,
on the privatization of the health system, the cost of medication after
the implementation of the plan to eliminate subsidies for medicines and
the measures the State party is taking to combat the negative effects
of these changes on the health of disadvantaged and marginalized groups.
37. The Committee
urges the State party to take all necessary measures in order to lower
maternal and infant mortality rates and to ensure that all forms of health
services are available to women and men, especially in rural areas, in
particular reproductive health services.
38. The Committee
urges the State party to give the most careful attention to the rights
of the mentally ill. The Committee requests the State party to report
fully in its third periodic report on the laws and measures adopted by
the State party with regard to the mentally ill, in particular on the
number hospitalized, the facilities available and the legal safeguards
for the protection of patients.
39. The Committee
urges the State party to ensure that its laws, regulations and practices
in relation to HIV/AIDS are non-discriminatory and are in conformity with
the International Guidelines adopted at the Second International Consultation
on HIV/AIDS and Human Rights in September 1996 (United Nations publication,
Sales No. E.98.XIV.1).
40. The Committee
recommends that the State party increase its expenditures for health and
education and requests the State party to provide the Committee in its
third periodic report with comparative statistical data on these indicators
over a period of time.
41. The Committee
urges the State party to take all appropriate measures in order to address
the problems relating to the high drop-out rates in the country's school
system, as well as the relatively low enrolment rate in secondary schools.
42. The State
party is urged to pursue the development and adoption of a comprehensive
national plan for Education for All, as anticipated in paragraph 16 of
the Dakar Framework for Action. When formulating and implementing its
plan, the State party should take into account the Committee's General
Comments No. 11 and No. 13 and establish an effective monitoring system
for the plan. The State party is also encouraged to seek technical advice
and assistance from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural
Organization in relation to both the formulation and implementation of
43. The Committee
strongly recommends that the State party's obligations under the Covenant
should be taken into account in all its negotiations with international
financial institutions, such as the International Monetary Fund, the World
Bank and the World Trade Organization, to ensure that economic, social
and cultural rights are not undermined.
44. The Committee
calls upon the State party to conduct training for judges and lawyers
and to disseminate the Covenant to the public at large.
45. The Committee
requests the State party to disseminate its concluding observations widely
among all levels of society and, in particular, among State officials
and the judiciary, and to inform the Committee in its next periodic report
of all steps taken to implement them. It also encourages the State party
to involve non-governmental organizations in the preparation of its third
the Committee requests the State party to submit its third periodic report
by 30 June 2006 and to include in this report detailed information on
the steps it has undertaken to implement its recommendations contained
in the present concluding observations.