66 local, regional and international civil society organizations condemn the ban on Yosra Frawes from entering Algerian territory and her arbitrary deportation

In Arab Countries, International Advocacy Program by CIHRS

This morning, August 14, 66 local, regional and international civil society organizations sent a letter to each of Mr. Ayman Ben Abdelrahman – Prime Minister, Mr. Ramtane Lamamra – Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Brahim Mourad – Minister of Interior, Mr. Abdel Rashid Tabib – Minister of Justice, Mr. Abdel-Majid Al-Zaalani, President of the National Council for Human Rights, and Mr. Abdel-Rahman Hamzawy, President of the National Observatory for Civil Society, in which she condemned the Algerian authorities’ arrest, on December 1, of Ms. Yosra Frawes at the airport and preventing her from entering Algerian territory, while she was on her way to hold a meeting with women’s organizations in Oran.

Yosra Fraws is a Tunisian lawyer, feminist, and human rights defender. She is currently in charge of the North Africa and Middle East office at the International Federation for Human Rights. According to her statement, her current occupation is the main reason for her refusal to enter Algeria. For hours, she was held under surveillance at Algeria’s airport, and prevented from communicating with anyone after cutting off telephone and internet services on her personal phone. Her passport was also confiscated, and she was subjected to interrogations about the organizer of the meeting and its program, as well as questions about her previous visit to Algeria in 2019. Before she was later deported to Tunisia. The organizations confirmed that the arbitrary deportation of Yosra Frawes because of her peaceful activism in defense of human rights is a violation of her right to freedom of expression, assembly and association.

Honourable Ministers,On Thursday 1 December 2022, Ms Yosra Frawes, a renowned Tunisian feminist lawyer, activist, and women’s rights defender, was prevented from entering Algerian territory as she was on her way to a meeting with women’s organisations from the sub-region, in Oran. Ms Frawes is former President of the Tunisian Association of Democratic Women (ATFD) and head of the Middle East and North Africa Desk at the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH).  Upon on her arrival at Algiers airport via Tunis, Yosra Frawes was stopped and spent many hours at the airport under police surveillance, without the possibility of informing anyone due to the cutting of her mobile phone and internet connection. Her passport was also confiscated. She was interrogated several times about the organisers and the agenda of the meeting she was going to, as well as the people she had met during a previous visit to Algeria, at the beginning of the “Hirak” movement in 2019. It was clearly implied that her profession as “FIDH official”, which appears on her Tunisian passport, meant that she was banned from entering Algeria. Subsequently, on the same day, Yosra Frawes was deported by plane to Tunisia, without any legal reason for the ban and subsequent deportation.We, international human rights organisations and Algerian and Tunisian civil society organisations, denounce the arbitrary refoulement to which Yosra Frawes has been subjected because of her peaceful activities to promote and defend human rights and her contacts with Algerian civil society opposition figures, in clear violation of her right to freedom of movement.

We recall that the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD) has in the past considered as “arbitrary” the deprivation of liberty of a human rights defender seeking to enter a third country to peacefully exercise their rights to freedom of expression, freedom of assembly and freedom of association.[1]

We appeal to your authority to restore Ms Yosra Frawes’ rights, so that she can once again move freely in Algeria. We also hope that your country will welcome any representative of our organisations who would like to visit Algeria for personal or professional reasons. Indeed, we also deplore the fact that the letters requesting an appointment sent to your services by the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders (FIDH-OMCT) in August and September 2022, ahead of a scheduled field visit, have remained unanswered to date.

Finally, we hope that your authorities will ensure that all human rights defenders can carry out their legitimate activities without hindrance in Algeria, regardless of their nationality.

With our respectful greetings,

Signatures :

  1. FIDH, in the framework of the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders
  2. World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), in the framework of the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders
  3. Agir ensemble pour les droits humains
  4. Agir pour le Changement Démocratique en Algérie (ACDA)
  5. Al Bawsala
  6. Al Karama for rights and freedoms
  7. Article 19
  8. Association CALAM
  9. Association Beity
  10. Association Citoyenneté et Libertés ACL
  11. Association Femme et Citoyenneté
  12. Association Joussour de la Citoyenneté
  13. Association l’Art Rue
  14. Association Tunisienne de Défense des Droits de l’Enfant ATDDE
  15. Association Tunisienne de Défense des Libertés Individuelles ADLI
  16. Association Tunisienne de l’Action Culturelle ATAC
  17. Association Tunisienne De Prévention Positive ATP+
  18. Association Tunisienne des Femmes Démocrates ATFD
  19. Association Tunisienne pour la Justice et Légalité DAMJ20. Association Wachm
  20. Aswat Nissa
  21. Avocats Sans Frontières ASF
  22. Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS)
  23. Civil Rigths Defenders
  24. Collectif des Avocats pour le Changement et la Dignité (CACD)
  25. Collectif des Familles de Disparus en Algérie (CFDA)
  26. Collectif Hirak montréal pour une Alternative Démocratique (CHAMD)
  27. Confédération Générale Autonome des Travailleurs en Algérie (CGATA)
  28. Democratic Transition & Human Rights Support – DAAM
  29. Dignity & rehabilitation coalition
  30. ESCR-Net – International Network for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
  31. EuroMed Rights
  32. Fédération Euro-Méditerranéenne contre les disparitions forcées FEMED
  33. Forum Attajdid pour la pensée progressiste
  34. Forum Tunisien pour les Droits Économiques et Sociaux FTDES
  35. Front Line Defenders
  37. Institut Arabe des Droits de l’Homme IADH
  38. International Center for Transitional Justice ICTJ
  39. Intersection Association for Rights and Freedoms
  40. L’Association tunisienne de soutien aux minorités
  41. La Fédération des tunisiens citoyens des deux rives FTCR
  42. La Fondation Hassen Saadaoui pour la démocratie et l’égalité
  43. La société tunisienne de thérapie familiale et du couple
  44. L’association Nachaz-Dissonances
  45. Le Comité pour le Respect des Libertés et des Droits de l’Homme CLRDHT
  46. Le Groupe Tawhida Ben Cheikh
  47. Le Réseau tunisien de la justice transitionnelle RTJT
  48. Le Syndicat national des journalistes tunisiens SNJT
  49. Legal Agenda
  50. Les Danseurs Citoyens Sud
  51. Ligue algérienne pour la défense des droits de l’homme LADDH
  52. Ligue Tunisienne pour la défense des droits de l’Homme LTDH
  53. L’initiative Mawjoudin pour l’égalité
  54. Mémoire commune pour la liberté et la démocratie
  55. Mon Droit pour la défense de l’enfant et de la famille
  56. No Peace Without Justice
  57. Observatoire national pour la défense du caractère civil de l’État
  58. Psychologues du Monde Tunisie
  59. Riposte
  60. SHOAA for Human Rights
  61. SOS disparus
  62. Soumoud Collectif citoyen
  63. Syndicat National Autonome des Personnels de l’Administration publique (SNAPAP)
  64. Tharwa n’Fadhma n’Soumer
  65. Union des diplômés-chômeurs U.D.C

[1]     On 20 July 2017, Adilur Rahman Khan, secretary of the Bangladeshi human rights NGO Odhikar, vice-president of FIDH and member of the OMCT General Assembly, was deported to Bangladesh after being detained for over 14 hours by Malaysian immigration at Kuala Lumpur International Airport. In an opinion adopted on 20 November 2017, the WGAD declared Mr Khan’s detention arbitrary; see also: WGAD, Opinion No. 67/2017 concerning Adilur Rahman Khan (Malaysia), 7 December 2017; UN Doc. A/HRC/WGAD/2017/67; and Urgent Appeal of the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders (FIDH-OMCT) MYS 001 / 0717 / OBS 083.1.

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