Special Appeal for Algeria
The World Organisation Against Torture launches international campaign
for Emergency Session of the UN Human Rights Commission
The last few weeks has been witness to unprecedented levels of
violence in Algeria; the killings include a great number of women,
children and old people; they have been committed in a particularly
brutal fashion and have become almost a daily event. The government
responds to the violence with systematic torture of opponents - or
those they presume to be opponents.
As you will recall, to avoid - as the authorities would have it - a
party coming to power which would not respect human rights, elections
were cancelled. Since this event the country has moved little by
little into a civil war characterised by atrocities against the civil
Given the ever deteriorating cycle of violence and the apparent
impotence of traditional mechanisms to bring any kind of respect for
fundamental rights, several international organisations - amongst
which the International Service for Human Rights (who have already has
already began action in this area); Antenna International and several
national organisations belonging to the OMCT network, have asked OMCT
to launch a campaign calling for an emergency session of the UN Human
The Commission has held similar meetings in the past for the Ex
Yugoslavia and Rwanda. The aim of these meetings was to gather the
international community together to adopt appropriate measures to put
an end to the violence. The Economic and Social Council in its
resolution 1990/48 of 25 May 1990, authorises the UN Commission on
Human Rights to hold an exceptional meeting - between its regular
sessions - on condition that the majority of State members of the
Commission accept. Under such a procedure any State member of the UN
can request such a meeting.
The developments in Algeria justify exceptional action. We urge you to
write to the totality of states members of the Commission (a list of
members follows) as well as the authorities in your own country so as
to bring about this long overdue meeting.
List of State members of the UN Commission on Human Rights:
Argentina, Austria, Bangladesh, Belarus, Bhutan, Botswana, Brazil,
Canada, Cap Vert, Chile, China, Congo, Cuba, Czech Republic, Denmark,
Equador, El Salvador, France, Germany, Guatemala, Guinee, India,
Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Malaysia,
Mali, Mexico, Morocco, Mozambique, Nepal, Uganda, Pakistan, Peoples
Democratic Republic of Congo, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Republic of
Korea, Russia, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa, Sudan, Tunisia, Ukraine,
Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States Uruguay, Venezuela.
Please let us know what actions you have undertaken and if you would
like to add your organisations support to this campaign
The International Secretariat.
Geneva 13th October 1997.
Case Postale 119
37-39 Rue de Vermont
CH1211 Geneva 20 CIC
Fax 4122 733 1051
Ph 4122 733 3140
OMCT is: l'Organisation Mondiale contre la Torture
The World Organisation Against Torture
OMCT - The World Organisation Against Torture is the Worlds largest
network of human rights organisations fighting against all forms of
torture, cruel inhuman or degrading treatment, forced disappearances
summary execution or other more subtle forms of violent repression.
OMCT has consultative status with the UN, The ILO and the
African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights.