Algeria-Watch, 4 April 2006
Algeria-Watch is an association campaigning for human rights in Algeria. It was created in Germany in 1997, but rapidly reached beyond German-speaking countries and developed activities in French. Since 2002, it also exists in France, under the same name and under the1901 French Law on associations. All Algeria-Watch's activities are the fruit of the commitment and voluntary work of its members and supporters.
The dual objective of Algeria-Watch is:
- to gather information allowing better understanding of the complex driving forces behind the war that is tearing the country apart since 1992, with ravaging results for the population (150 000 to 200 000 killed, hundreds of thousands of orphans, tens of thousands tortured, more than 10 000 persons missing, at least 1.5 million displaced persons, more than 500 000 in exile, etc.), as well as devastating effects on the economy, the environment and on the ethics of society;
- to take and support any initiatives aiming at restoring peace, truth and justice in Algeria.
This task appears all the more crucial since the Algerian authorities have, on February 27th, 2006, promulgated a law granting de facto amnesty, on the one hand, to all members of State services and, on the other, to the members of armed groups claiming allegiance to Islam. But the law goes even further, as it prohibits, under penalty of imprisonment, any reference to crimes committed since the 1992 coup d'état. As the Latin American experiences have successfully shown in the past, such an attempt to muzzle the population will not prevent the Truth to break out.
Among Algeria-Watch's activities one should mention : writing articles and thematic reports in German and French, cooperating with human rights advocates in Algeria in preparing and updating lists of victims (missing, summarily executed, tortured persons, etc), supporting asylum seekers or people threatened to be driven back, as well as their lawyers in the various steps they take.
One of the main activities of Algeria-Watch is running its website (www.algeria-watch.org) in French and German, and since the beginning of April 2006, in English. Since its creation eight years ago, it has emerged as one of the best documented websites on the Algerian situation, especially as regards human rights. The website has become an essential tool for all who regularly follow developments in this country (at the beginning of 2006, there were 100 000 visits per month and more than 500 000 pages viewed monthly). In 2006, the website – regularly enriched and updated – contains more than 10 000 documents, articles and various texts, exploitable via an integrated search engine.
Worldwide, many journalists, human rights NGO activists, members of government institutions dealing with Algerian asylum seekers, parliamentarians, academics, secondary school pupils and teachers, Algerians – both men and women – inside and outside the country regularly consult the website and submit specific requests to Algeria-Watch. In particular, the website helps human rights advocates operating within the country itself to widely publicize their initiatives and work.
Although most of Algeria-Watch's work is carried out on a voluntary basis, the association has to face normal running expenses (domiciliation, telephone, travel, translations, etc.). It therefore depends on donations from those who acknowledge that its existence is indeed useful on the arduous path towards the Truth. Without these contributions, Algeria-Watch would not exist. Please help the association to pursue its activities.