ALGIERS, 6 March 2021 – A draft bill that would strip some Algerians of their nationality has come under fire online from rights aactivists.
Citizens whose behavior is considered detrimental to the state would have their citizenship revoked, according to the draft bill submitted by Algeria’s Justice Minister Belkacem Zeghmati.
Activists online have decried the amendment to the nationality law, arguing that officils are trying to use the law to target “Hirak” activists who have been staging mass street protests to demand change and an end to government corruption.
Three circumstances would open the door for citizenship to be stripped.
Individuals involved in acts that seriously harm the interest of the state or undermine national unity would see their citizenship revoked.
Those who live abroad who participate in activities deemed to constitute terrorism or who participate in a terrorist organization or fund such an organization would lose their citizenship as well.
The third category of people who would lose their citizenship would be individuals judged to be dealing with a country or countries that are hostile to the Algerian state.
The bill must be approved by the council and ministers and ratified by the parliament to become law.
In a related development, the U.N. Human Rights Office on Fridday condemned Algeria’s crackdown on members of the pro-democracy Hirak movement, calling on the authorities to end its violence against peaceful protesters.
U.N. human rights spokesman Rupert Colville says Algerian authorities are reacting to the protesters in the same repressive manner seen in recent years.