General overview of Algeria's national legal provisions on children's rights, including guidance on how to conduct further research.
National laws on children's rights
Status of the CRC in national law
Article 132 of the Algerian Constitution provides that ratified treaties, including the Convention on the Rights of the Child, are superior to national law, though subject to the conditions set out in the Constitution. Since a decision of the Constitutional Council in 1989, it has been settled that this provision allows for ratified and published treaties to be invoked before national courts with superior authority to national legislation.
Constitution: Chapter IV of the Constitution of Algeria contains a number of rights provisions that apply regardless of age, as well as a small number that specifically address the rights of children:
- Art. 53: provides for free and compulsory education as well as equal access to education and professional training.
- Art. 59: guarantees the living conditions of children under the minimum legal age for employment as well as for those unable to work.
- Art. 63: provides that all the individual liberties recognised by the Constitution must be carried out with respect to the rights of others, in particular the rights to honour, intimacy and the protection of the family, youth and childhood.
- Art. 65: enshrines the duty of parents to educate and protect their children and the duty of children to help and assist their parents.
Legislation: There is no comprehensive or consolidated Children's Act in Algerian law; rather, legislation relating to children's rights can be found throughout various Codes, Acts and Ordinances. Relevant legislation includes, but is by no means limited to:
- The Family Code
- The Civil Code
- The Criminal Code
- The Code of Criminal Procedure
- The Code of Algerian Nationality
- Act No. 09-01 of 25 February 2009, criminalising trafficking in persons
- Act No. 08-04 of 23 January 2008, the Education Act
- Act No. 88-07 of 26 July 1988, the Health, Safety and Healthcare at Work Act
- The Promotion and Protection of Persons with Disabilities Act of 9 May 2002
- Ordinance No. 72-03 of 10 February 1972, on the Protection of Children and Young Persons and Children in Situations of Emergency
- Ordinance No. 75-64 of 26 September 1975, setting up Institutions and Services to Protect Children and Young Persons
- Ordinance No. 70-20 of 19 February 1970, relating to civil status
The National Assembly (Assemblée Populaire Nationale) maintains an official website which publishes adopted legislation in French (http://www.apn-dz.org/apn/french/index.htm). The Official Gazette provides a range of legal resources in French (http://www.joradp.dz/HFR/Index.htm), and the website of the Prime Minister provides access to the legal Codes in French (http://www.premier-ministre.gov.dz/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=432&Itemid=91). The Constitution is available in English through the website of Algeria's Permanent Mission to the United Nations (http://www.algeria-un.org/default.asp?doc=-const). In addition, the GlobaLex initiative at New York University has published a guide to legal research in Algeria (http://www.nyulawglobal.org/Globalex/Algeria.htm), and both the World Legal Information Institute (http://www.worldlii.org/dz/) and the U.S. Law Library of Congress (http://www.loc.gov/law/help/guide/nations/algeria.php) have assembled links to relevant legal research and government resources.
Please contact CRIN if you are aware of any cases in national courts that reference the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Case Law Research
Decisions from national courts in Algeria do not appear to be readily available online.
Compliance with the CRC
In its 2012 Concluding Observations of 2012, the Committee on the Rights of the Child welcomed a number of positive legal reforms to bring Algerian law into conformity with the CRC, particularly with regards to legislation on nationality and civil registration. The Committee expressed concern, however, about the lack of progress in the adoption of the Child Protection Code, a process that began in 2005, and the discriminatory provisions found throughout the Family Code.
In depth analysis
The Committee also raised a large number of specific areas of national law which contained substantial or pervasive inconsistencies with the Convention. With regards to asylum and refugee law, the Committee noted that there was no comprehensive legal framework, and that refugee and asylum-seeking children were at risk of being treated as illegal migrants, who can face arrest, detention and expulsion. Furthermore, the Committee expressed concern that unaccompanied minors did not have access to free legal aid, the assistance of a guardian or appropriate psychological and medical support. As such, the Committee recommended instituting a comprehensive legal framework for refugees and asylum seekers in line with international standards, especially to address these particular issues.
The Committee also commented on pervasive legal and practical discrimination in Algeria. The inheritance rights of girls, which are of lesser than those of their male counterparts, were a specific area of concern, alongside the preferential treatment given to men in matters of family law. Similarly, the Committee expressed concern that mothers frequently have to seek the agreement of a family judge in order to pass their nationality on to their children, despite national law granting this right.
Several of the Committee's concerns related to violence against children, including sexual violence. The Committee raised serious concern that rape was considered a crime against “honour” in national law, and that could be “expunged” by a rapist marrying his victim. The Committee urged the State to reform this law to define rape as sexual intercourse without consent and to appropriately prosecute and punish those who commit such crimes. The Committee also noted the high prevalence of domestic violence, the legality of corporal punishment in home, and the widespread practice of corporal punishment in schools, despite a legal prohibition on such violence.
Current legal reform projects
The State began the process of enacting a Child Protection Code in 2005, but as of June 2012, this had not been passed.
Previous National Laws items
- 02/07/2012: SWITZERLAND: National Laws
- 27/06/2012: AUSTRALIA: National Laws
- 20/06/2012: VIET NAM: National Laws
- 14/06/2012: NETHERLANDS: National Laws
- 11/06/2012: SENEGAL: National Laws
Organisation Contact Details:
Child Rights International Network
2 Pontypool Place
Tel: +44 (0)207 401 2257
Last updated 04/07/2012 09:57:36