Brief: Religious Freedom in Algeria
Although the resignation of President Abdelaziz Bouteflika in 2019 provided an unparalleled opportunity for Algeria to improve its human rights and religious freedom record, the nation has only succeeded in doubling down on repressing its vulnerable Christian minority. COVID-19 posed new challenges. Every church was closed, but when Algeria made the decision to reopen society, mosques and the historic churches were authorized to resume their activities.
Protestant churches asked the government for clarity about their status but for weeks received only silence. They generally have since reopened, although they never received a response from the authorities. However, the churches which were sealed pre-dating COVID remain closed. As the country has emerged from COVID, there has been an increase of activity relating to criminal charges pressed against individual Christians, namely protestants. Now more than ever is the time for the international community to pressure Algeria to reverse course and protect the rights of its Christian minority.