afrol News, 1 April -Algeria's representative to the UN Commission of Human Rights, Mohamed-Salah Dembri, had it with European human rights critics against non-European contries on a UN debate about violations of human rights all over the world. He instead listed European violations to the irritation of the Spanish EU representative.
Mohamed-Salah Dembri said the European Union (EU) had no right to be the judge of the world. The EU had enumerated many violations of human rights across the world, except in its Member States and candidate countries. "This despite the fact that human rights violations are committed within member countries and candidates to join the EU," said Dembri.
These violations included, among others, discrimination against national minorities and immigrants; torture of detained persons; violence against immigrants; violations of the rights of the child, with 20 per cent of children within the EU suffering social exclusion, sexual abuse, physical violence and discrimination, according to Dembri.
The Roma minority ("gypsies") continued to be subjected to social and economic discrimination in many European countries, Dembri told the UN forum. "In Romania, 100,000 orphans are confined to institutions where they do not receive sufficient assistance. In many member countries, the Roma continue to suffer social and economic discrimination. An apartheid policy is practised in Czech Republic, Romania, Slovenia, Greece and the Baltic countries. Hungarian, Albanian, German, Russian, Croatian and Swedish minorities were denied citizenship in various countries of central and eastern Europe," he listed.
- Sterilization of disabled people has been practiced for decades in Scandinavia, Dembri went on. "Extremist parties advocating racism, intolerance and xenophobia has been legalized in some European countries. In Northern Ireland, those suspected of conducting political activities are systematically detained," said Dembri.
When commenting the human rights situation in Spain, the country that has turned into one of the main gateways for legal and illegal immigrants from Africa into the European Union, Dembri in particular mentioned the embaressing assult on Moroccan temporal workers by villagers in El Egido last year. He also noted the struggle for autonomy of the Basque and Catalan minorities in Spain.
On this point, however, Dembri's reasoning was not left unanswered. The Spanish representative to the debate replied that "the Basque and Catalan regions enjoy autonomy enshrined in the Spanish Constitution" and that he was "surprised at the Algerian Representative's choice of the El Egido incident as an example of Spanish reality. The latter incident was an outbreak of racism and xenophobia in a particular rural context and the perpetrators have been prosecuted and punished."
Algeria itself is regularly in the focus of human rights groups and the UN human rights agency for various reasons. Although the worst and most systematic human rights violations in Algeria have been executed by "Islamist" terrorist groups, the government, police and military are also known for a rough hand.