Sending Office: Honorable Doug Lamborn
The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom recently recommended the inclusion of Algeria on the U.S. Department of State’s Special Watch List for engaging in or tolerating severe violations of religious freedom pursuant to the International
Religious Freedom Act (IRFA). You can read USCIRF’s recommendation’s
Please join me in sending a letter to the government of the People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria regarding the recent closings of churches on the basis of Ordinance 06-03. 13 Churches have been closed since 2017 under this ordinance. While the Algerian
constitution clearly outlines freedom of religion for all, we’re concerned these closures are an obstruction to the free practice and exercise of religion in Algeria. We are asking for the Algerian government to create a viable means by which churches may
obtain full authorization to operate.
Please join us in advocating for religious liberty for all Algerians. If you have any questions or would like to sign on, please contact Peter Holland (firstname.lastname@example.org) in my office.
The deadline for signing on is Friday, May 8th.
Member of Congress
His Excellency, President Abdelmadjid Tebboune
People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria
Embassy of the People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria
Dear President Tebboune,
We greatly appreciate the strong relationship between Algeria and the United States and our mutually assured commitment to protecting people from extremist elements that threaten democracy, liberty and freedom. As you are aware, the Algerian Constitution
states that “freedom of creed and opinion is inviolable.” We wholeheartedly agree with this statement and strongly appreciate the people of Algeria for the stand they have taken to defend religious freedom for all Algerians.
Last fall, I led several of my fellow members of the United States Congress in contacting the government of Algeria regarding some very concerning reports of church closures taking place. As you may know, 13 churches around Algeria remain closed by the government
since November 2017. The closures culminated in October 2019 when the authorities closed the most sizeable churches in the country, including the Protestant Church of the Full Gospel of Tizi-Ozou.
We have reason to believe these church closures are a part of a campaign under the previous leadership of Algeria to hinder Christians from freely exercising their faith and religion. The churches were closed on the basis of a 2006 law known as Ordinance
06-03. As you know, this law stipulates that Christian churches must obtain registration from a national committee in order to hold public religious services. The committee established by Ordinance 06-03 has yet to convene, much less approve a single application.
However, the closed churches have operated with legal standing through affiliation with the L’Église Protestante d’Algérie.
During one of the church closures, eight police officers enforcing orders from the governor of Tizi-Ouzou Province sealed the doors and windows of a protestant church building in Boghni under Ordinance 06-03. The officers also posted a notice on the door
explaining their actions. The notice read, “We, the police of Boghni, inform the whole population of Boghni that the premises illegally used by the named Tahar Chergui to celebrate non-Muslim worship was closed and sealed by order of the governor dated Sept.
18, 2019. Signed by the president of district security.”
These reports are troubling as the Algerian constitution clearly outlines freedom of religion for all. These closures and Ordinance of 06-03 are a clear hindrance to the free practice and exercise of religion in Algeria. These freedoms must be guaranteed
for all Algerians.
As a participant in the international community and a signatory to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which protects the right to freedom of religious belief, we urge the Algerian government to halt the unfair implementation of Ordinance
06-03 and review the law’s text along with relevant provisions of the Constitution to ensure that all national laws are consistent with a commitment to protect the freedom of religion, belief and of continence for individuals of all or no faiths. We strongly
encourage additional constitutional protections and other legal structures be created for all Algerian to practice the faith of their choosing. We urge your government to allow the churches which you have already closed to reopen, and create a viable means
by which churches may obtain full authorization to operate.
Thank you for your consideration and for your nation’s commitment to religious freedom. The best defense against those who seek to undermine human rights is to protect each individual’s right to freedom of thought, conscience, and religion.
This freedom is prerequisite for all the other freedoms that we believe in.
Member of Congress
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