Algeria: Human rights defender Yosra Frawes must be allowed in the country

Publish Date: 
Thursday, December 15, 2022

Algiers-Geneva-Paris-Tunis, 14 December 2022

Mr. Aïmene Benabderrahmane, Prime Minister

Mr. Ramtame Lamamra, Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Brahim Merad, Minister of the Interior

M . Abderrachid Tabi, Minister of Justice

Mr. Abdelmadjid Zaalani, President of the National Council for Human Rights

Mr. Abderrahmane Hamzaoui, President of the National Observatory of Civil Society


Honourable Ministers,

On Thursday 1 December 2022, Ms Yosra Frawes, a renowned Tunisian feminist lawyer and activist, women's rights defender, 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), 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. Indeed, coming from Tunis, on her arrival at Algiers airport, Yosra Frawes was stopped and spent many hours at the airport under police surveillance. This without the possibility of informing anyone due to the cutting of her mobile phone and internet connections. Her passport was also confiscated. She was interrogated several times in order to find out the organisers and the programme 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 this ban.

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

21. Aswat Nissa

22. Avocats Sans Frontières ASF

23. Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS)

24. Civil Rigths Defenders

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.