You can download the full report (in French only for now) presented by Tamazgha at the bottom of this communique.
Les versions françaises de ce communique et du rapport présenté par Tamazgha sont disponibles en bas du texte en anglais.
The Algerian State before the United Nations’ Bodies on human rights
44th session of the Committee for the economic, social and cultural rights
A Communiqué by Tamazgha Association (Paris) a non-governmental organization for the defense ofthe rights of Imazighen (Berbers)
During the 44th session of the Committee for the Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR) which was held 3-21 May 2010 in Geneva, the Algerian State was called to provide a report on legislative, judiciary and administrative measures taken to be acquitted from their obligations in reference to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.
To this effect, the Algerian State, as usual, presented a text with the scenario of an apparently formal institutional structure, which is high protective of the public’s freedoms and the rights granted by the Covenant, but in total contradiction with the reality of the citizens’ daily life.
This upfront formality hides a huge systematic gap between the Algerian legality, which complies only on paper with international treaties on human rights, and the real application of these treaties and the effective protection of the very rights that are formally granted to the citizens. There is, here, an indisputably real disconnect between the assertions in the legal texts and the field reality.
One of the main contradictions is concerned with the way the State dealt with the Amazigh issue and the Amazigh speaking populations.
Tamazgha, an NGO that defends the rights of Imazighen (Berbers), presented at this occasion an alternative report titled “The Algerian State and the Amazigh Question”. In this report, Tamazgha outlined the hypocrisy and the incoherencies of the Algerian State, as well as the principal violations of the provisions of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. In the same report, Tamazgha presented propositions to the Committee on an informative basis for the formulation of recommendations for the Algerian State to end the discrimination against Imazighen (Berbers).
Since 2002, the Algerian State has been boasting about declaring the Tamazight (the Berber language) in the Constitution as a national language. But, how can one believe the Algerian State, while the law on the generalization of the Arabic language is still maintained; a law that is still in effect and institutionalizes linguistic discrimination? What sense does the registering of Tamazight as a national language have while the Amazigh speakers still cannot make use of their language throughout the Algerian administrations, nor can they read official documents in their own language?
On the cultural side, Tamazgha denounced the way the Algerian State wants to lead the teaching of Tamazight to failure. In fact, the marginalization of this teaching, made optional and with no resources, can but lead to a slow burial of this language. Besides, how can one believe in the sincerity of the Algerian State pretending to want to recognize and promote the Amazigh language, while the Arabization project is being revamped daily? Several years after being in charge of the teaching of this “national language”, only 2.15% of students have access to the teaching of Tamazight, of whom 88% are Kabyle. In Algiers, the Nation’s capital where at least 50% of its population is Amazigh speaking, there are only three Tamazight teachers in three schools with a total attendance of 63 students.
Tamazgha also pointed out, in its report, the religious discrimination practice of the Algerian State. Tamazgha denounced the official politics wanting to make the Algerian State a Muslim state, where non-Muslims are excluded, marginalized and sometimes deprived of the most basic rights, such as adopting a child.
In short, the Algerian State maintains one of its founding principles: the eradication of Amazighness from North Africa. The State’s hypocritical attitude before international authorities concerning the Amazigh issue only confirms its determination to achieve its anti-Amazigh goal.
Tamazgha calls with all its wishes upon the members of the United Nations’ Committee on Economic, Social and cultural Rights to summon the Algerian State on its politics of Tamazight’s marginalization and exclusion, and to remind it of its obligations of respecting the provisions of the Covenant of which it is a member. And, in order to show its good will, the Algerian State must proceed promptly with the amendment of all the laws and the various legal instruments and legal acts, which contain discriminating provisions towards Tamazight. All laws, decrees, ordinances..., must be reviewed to comply with Article 3-b of the Constitution that establishes Tamazight as a National Language. The Algerian State must, of course, make Tamazight official as the Committee has already recommended in 2001.
Geneva, May 3, 2010
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