Call for Algeria to respect the rights of anti-corruption activist Mourad Tchiko

21 December 2010.

The UNCAC Coalition is deeply concerned about the treatment of Mr Mourad Tchiko, an Algerian citizen, trade unionist and anti-corruption activist, and calls on the government of Algeria to respect his rights under the Constitution and laws of Algeria. The Coalition requests civil society to approach the Algerian ambassador in your country to call for the respect of Mourad Tchiko’s rights, using this statement.

Dear Mr Ambassador,

We are writing to express our deep concern about the treatment of Mr. Mourad Tchiko, an Algerian citizen, trade unionist and anti-corruption activist. Mr. Tchiko is a member of the UNCAC Coalition, a global network of over 240 civil society organisations in 100 countries committed to promoting the ratification, implementation and monitoring in the UN Convention against Corruption (UNCAC). He is also a member of the board of the National Autonomous Union of Public Administration Personnel (SNAPAP.)

The UNCAC Coalition is extremely concerned about information received that Mr Tchiko has been denied renewal of his passport and has received a summons to appear before the Court of Bir Mourad Raïss on 28 November 2010 postponed to 19 December 2010. We call upon the Algerian Government to ensure treatment of Mr. Tchiko that respects his rights under the Constitution and laws of Algeria, including its labour laws, and under international human rights law, including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Algeria is a party.

By way of background, we have been informed that on 18 December 2004, Mr. Tchiko was suspended from his position as a fireman at the General Directorate for Civil Protection in Alger for organizing industrial action in protest against inadequate working conditions and wages and poor administration of the fire department where he worked. Mr. Tchiko appealed this decision. Since then, the authorities have continually extended the appeal procedure in relation to the decision. In addition, we are informed that Mr Tchiko’s (former) fire department employers have instituted a lawsuit against him for his trade union activities and furthermore, as a result of those trade union activities he has been summoned three times to appear before an investigating magistrate in Sidi M’hamed and twice before the local law enforcement authorities of Hadjout district in the province of Tipaza, including the most recent summons.

On 8 August 2010 Mr Tchiko lodged a request at the passport office of Hadjout district for the renewal of his passport, which had expired. His application was denied with the reason given that he was being sued by his (former) employers in the fire department. The passport office refused to provide written notification of this decision.

Since 2006 Mr. Tchiko has been an active member of the UNCAC Coalition, travelling to and attending all three Conferences of the States Parties of the UN Convention against Corruption, the last one in Doha in November 2009. There is no information available indicating why the Algerian authorities now consider there is any legal basis for restricting Mr. Tchiko’s freedom of movement.

We request that you to take urgent action by all means possible to ensure that Mr Tchiko’s rights are respected.

Yours sincerely,

Gillian Dell
On behalf of the UNCAC Coalition