Advocacy statements

Treatment of minorities in Algeria and Tunisia (English Version)

  • Date / 2023
  • Location / Algeria
  • Relevant Institution / UN Human Rights Council
  • UN Item / Item 6: Universal Periodic Review


Humanists International

UN Human Rights Council, 52nd session (27 February – 4 April 2023)

General Debate Item 6: Universal Periodic Review

We thank the delegations of Algeria and Tunisia for their UPR presentations.

In 2018, the UN Human Rights Committee urged Algeria to annul all laws contravening the right to freedom of thought, conscience, and religion, including those that prevent atheists or apostates from exercising their right to non-belief.[1] Instead, in 2020, the Algerian government arbitrarily removed the right of  ‘freedom of conscience’ from the constitution.[2]

Since then, 13 atheists-in-hiding have reached out to our organization fearing persecution on grounds of their belief. The crackdown on religious and belief minorities in general has grown more severe.[3]

Accusations of “disrespect for Islam” have been used as a pretext to persecute secular dissidents, and academics have been put on trial for asking questions deemed “insulting to religion.”[4] Amira Bouraoui, an activist known for her support of the Algerian pro-democracy movement, was sentenced to two years in prison for “insulting Islam and the country’s president.” [5]

Tunisia’s new constitution has weakened key democratic safeguards,[6] and has similarly paved the way toward human rights abuses and greater intolerance of minority beliefs and identity.  We condemn the racist remarks by President Saied, which have triggered an ongoing wave of violence and forceful evictions of black African migrants in Tunisia.[7]

We urge Algeria and Tunisia to guarantee the right of all minorities, and to foster an inclusive society where everyone is able to think, believe, and express themselves freely, without fear of reprisals or censorship.


[1] CCPR/C/DZA/CO/4, para. 42 (a) and (c).

[2] https://www.hrw.org/news/2021/02/15/right-vanished-algerias-constitution

[3] https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2022/09/algeria-drop-all-charges-against-members-of-a-religious-minority/, https://minorityrights.org/country/algeria/#:~:text=Algeria%20has%20many%20minorities%2C%20including,non%2DMuslim%20associations%20are%20deferred

[4] https://humanists.international/2023/02/algeria-acquittal-of-humanist-academic-is-a-victory-for-the-right-to-freedom-of-religion-or-belief/

[5]  https://www.newarab.com/news/algeria-releases-mother-wanted-dissident-amira-bouraoui


[7] https://www.hrw.org/news/2023/03/10/tunisia-racist-violence-targets-black-migrants-refugees; https://minorityrights.org/2023/03/08/tunisia-racism-escalation-en/

To note: This statement was originally delivered in Arabic.

Suggested academic reference

'Treatment of minorities in Algeria and Tunisia (English Version)', Humanists International

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