Back to top
14 December 2022

Joint Open Letter - Algeria: Refoulement of woman human rights defender Yosra Frawes from Algeria

Download the PDF Joint Open Letter


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 Avocats pour le Changement et la Dignité (CACD)

26. Collectif des Familles de Disparus en Algérie (CFDA)

27. Collectif Hirak montréal pour une Alternative Démocratique (CHAMD)

28. Confédération Générale Autonome des Travailleurs en Algérie (CGATA)

29. Democratic Transition & Human Rights Support – DAAM

30. Dignity & rehabilitation coalition

31. ESCR-Net - International Network for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights

32. EuroMed Rights

33. Fédération Euro-Méditerranéenne contre les disparitions forcées FEMED

34. Forum Attajdid pour la pensée progressiste

35. Forum Tunisien pour les Droits Économiques et Sociaux FTDES

36. Front Line Defenders


38. Institut Arabe des Droits de l'Homme IADH

39. International Center for Transitional Justice ICTJ

40. Intersection Association for Rights and Freedoms

41. L’Association tunisienne de soutien aux minorités

42. La Fédération des tunisiens citoyens des deux rives FTCR

43. La Fondation Hassen Saadaoui pour la démocratie et l’égalité

44. La société tunisienne de thérapie familiale et du couple

45. L'association Nachaz-Dissonances

46. Le Comité pour le Respect des Libertés et des Droits de l’Homme CLRDHT

47. Le Groupe Tawhida Ben Cheikh

48. Le Réseau tunisien de la justice transitionnelle RTJT

49. Le Syndicat national des journalistes tunisiens SNJT

50. Legal Agenda

51. Les Danseurs Citoyens Sud

52. Ligue algérienne pour la défense des droits de l'homme LADDH

53. Ligue Tunisienne pour la défense des droits de l'Homme LTDH

54. L'initiative Mawjoudin pour l'égalité

55. Mémoire commune pour la liberté et la démocratie

56. Mon Droit pour la défense de l'enfant et de la famille

57. No Peace Without Justice

58. Observatoire national pour la défense du caractère civil de l’État

59. Psychologues du Monde Tunisie

60. Riposte

61. SHOAA for Human Rights

62. SOS disparus

63. Soumoud Collectif citoyen

64. Syndicat National Autonome des Personnels de l’Administration publique (SNAPAP)

65. Tharwa n’Fadhma n’Soumer

66. Union des diplômés-chômeurs U.D.C


1On 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.