Page

Introduction

4

General information and replies to the Committee’s concerns and recommendations

5

General information

5

General political structure

6

General legal framework within which human rights are protected

6

Human rights machinery

International treaties and the domestic legal system

Information and publicity

9

Human rights and the effort to combat terrorism

9

Replies to the Committee’s concerns

10

Information on substantive provisions of the Convention

51

Policy aimed at eliminating discrimination against women

51

Measures to promote de facto equality between men and women

52

Temporary special measures to accelerate de facto equality between men and women

58

Action to combat stereotyped roles for men and women

58

Measures aimed at suppressing all forms of traffic in women and exploitation of prostitution of women

60

Elimination of discrimination against women in the political and public life of the country

62

Participation by women in international or regional meetings

68

Elimination of discrimination against women in respect of the acquisition, change and retention of nationality

68

Elimination of discrimination against women in the field of education

69

Elimination of discrimination against women in the field of employment

76

Elimination of discrimination against women in the field of health care

80

Elimination of discrimination against women in other areas of economic and social life

93

Elimination of discrimination against women in rural areas

93

Elimination of discrimination against women before the law

104

Elimination of discrimination against women in all matters relating to marriage and family relations

104

Introduction

Algeria ratified the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women on 22 January 1996, by Presidential Decree No. 96-51. The ratification was published in the Issue No. 6 of the Official Gazette of the People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria on 24 January 1996.

Pursuant to article 18 of the Convention, Algeria has submitted two reports to the Committee to date:

‑its initial report (CEDAW/C/DZA/1) on 21 and 26 January 1999,

‑its second periodic report (CEDAW/C/DZA/2) on 11 January 2005.

When submitting its last periodic report, the members of the Algerian delegation outlined the improvements in the status of women that had been achieved since the time of the Committee’s consideration of the initial report. The challenges confronting the full realization of women’s rights were explained, and the measures that the national authorities had adopted in order to overcome them were outlined.

The members of the delegation also noted that at the international level, the Algerian authorities were consistently pursuing the process of acceding to the various international human rights instruments, with the result that Algeria today is a party to virtually all those instruments.

The members of the Committee, for their part, formulated a number of observations and comments. The Government of Algeria’s replies thereto are set forth in this report, which also provides some additional information on changes that have occurred in the intervening time.

In accordance with the guidelines on the form and contents of reports submitted by States Parties, this periodic report is a consolidated one, comprising the third and fourth periodic reports merged into a single document. It is subdivided into two main parts:

‑Part I, entitled “General information and replies to the Committee’s concerns and recommendations”, outlines Algeria’s general political structure and reviews the legal framework within which human rights are promoted and protected. Part I also contains the Government’s replies to the observations and comments formulated by Committee members when the second periodic report was submitted in January 2005;

‑Part II contains information on substantive provisions of the Convention in respect of which there have been changes.

PART I

Chapter 1 : General information and replies to the Committee’s concerns and recommendations

A/ General information

The Algerian authorities have been working to promote and protect human rights since the period immediately following the country’s independence in 1962. Accordingly, successive Algerian Constitutions have enshrined universal human-rights principles while simultaneously taking into account the imperatives of Algerian society’s authenticity, modernity and ongoing development.

It was after opening up to a multiparty system in 1989, however, that Algeria speeded up the process of acceding to international human rights instruments. Today, it is a country that has made substantial progress with respect to fundamental freedoms, and has been submitting the reports required of it under its various international commitments.

1. Territory, population and economic indicators

Area: 2,381,000 square kilometres;

Population: 34.8 million (2008 data), of whom 50.5 per cent are men and 49.5 per cent women;

GDP: US$175.9 billion / Per capita income: $US5,097 (2008);

Foreign debt: US$4 billion (2008);

Unemployment rate: 11.3 per cent (2008).

Official language: Arabic; National languages: Arabic, Tamazight.

Religion: Islam.

Average life expectancy (2007): 75.7 years for the population as a whole, 76.8 years for women and 74.6 years for men.

Infant mortality rate (2007): 26.2 per thousand live births. For boys: 27.9 per thousand live births; for girls: 24.4 per thousand live births.

Maternal mortality rate: 88.9 maternal deaths per 100 000 (2007).

Economic growth rate: 3 per cent (2007); Rate of inflation: 3.5 per cent (2007).

School enrolment rate: 98 per cent (2007).

Age structure (%) (General Population and Housing Census - 2008)

Under 5:10.0

Under 20:38.7

Young people between 15 and 24:21.8

25 – 59:53.8

60 and over:7.4

Concentrated population (General Population and Housing Census 2008): 86.0 per cent of the total population.

I . General political structure

Following a devastating war of liberation, Algeria faced many challenges. These included not only the establishment of a new State’s institutions and structures but also national reconstruction in all areas.

The necessary resources were allocated, and a policy of voluntary action was adopted which resulted in the introduction of free compulsory education for all children, free access to basic health care for all citizens, and the launching of development plans that generated social benefits throughout the country.

This situation developed in a context of political and economic regimentation. Beginning in 1988, however, Algeria decided to embark on a qualitative new phase in its development, turning resolutely to political democratization and economic liberalization. The transition was not made without difficulty, owing to the dead weight of domestic factors that were the legacy of a single-party culture and a difficult socio-economic environment.

The political reforms undertaken in this connection led progressively to a revitalized political system. A new Constitution was adopted in February 1989, with additional provisions relating to freedoms, political pluralism, the separation of powers and an independent judiciary.

The various elections that have been held in Algeria since then have helped to consolidate democracy and the rule of law and enabled them to take root in the country, while also fostering the development of more representative electoral institutions.

At the same time, the programmes of successive governments have confirmed Algeria’s irreversible embrace of a market economy, accompanied by a concern to ensure that workers’ acquired social benefits shall be safeguarded in the context of recurring cycles of bargaining with social partners and the adoption of support and guidance measures targeting persons in disadvantaged social categories.

The Algerian State is currently preparing to implement a national plan designed to strengthen respect for the human rights enshrined in the Constitution. The plan outlines a national Algerian policy in that area, reaffirming the country’s determination to reinforce citizens’ individual and collective freedoms and duties and to promote the values of solidarity, sharing and tolerance.

The Algerian State also intends to pursue the gradual realization of various projects aimed at reforming its missions and organization, completion of the ongoing reform of its justice system, and the assessment of measures taken to date in the fields of education, health, and the social safety net. Lastly, noteworthy gains have been achieved in respect of the status of women, especially in the institutional sphere, thanks to the constitutional reform of 12 November 2008, which will enable women to be agents for change in society as a result of more efficient and more dynamic institutional representation combining authenticity and modernity.

II . General legal framework within which human rights are promoted and protected

Generally speaking, an adequate promotion, early warning and monitoring system for human rights has been established in Algeria. The system covers both individual civil and political rights and collective economic, social and cultural rights. It rests on four main types of mechanisms, each of which operates in such a way as to support and reinforce the others.

In Algeria today, in addition to the Constitution, there are a number of statutory instruments that serve to foster the democratization of public activity:

‑ Law No. 89-11 of 5 July 1989, the Political Associations Act, as amended and supplemented by Ordinance No. 97-09 of 6 March 1997, the Political Parties Act, which has led to the emergence of a total of 28 national political parties currently active in Algeria’s political landscape;

Law No. 90-31 of 4 December 1990, the Associations Act, which provides that associations can be established on the strength of nothing more than a declaration by the founders at the wilaya (prefecture) in the case of local associations, or at the Ministry of the Interior if the association in question is nation-wide in scope;

Law No. 90-07 of 3 April 1990 , the Information Act, which cleared the way for the birth of a private press alongside the public press, the blossoming of a party-affiliated press, and the development of a specialized press.

- a/ Political machinery

This is structured around Parliament, which is the forum for institutional expression of the Algerian State’s democratic aspect and the pluralism that characterizes Algerian political life. More specifically, human rights issues are addressed within the standing committees established for the purpose by Parliament’s two houses.

Parliament consists of two houses, the National People’s Assembly and the Council of the Nation (Senate). It monitors action by the Government and enacts legislation. The National People’s Assembly comprises 389 deputies representing a broad spectrum of political views.

The Council of the Nation, established in December 1997, is made up of 144 members. Two thirds of these are elected through indirect suffrage by an electoral college composed of the members of the communal and wilaya ­-level(departmental) people’s assemblies, while the remaining third (the other 48 members) are appointed by the President of the Republic.

Political parties, for their part, are deemed in the eyes of the law to be an integral part of human rights promotion machinery. Under article 3 of Law No. 97-09 of 6 March 1997, the Political Parties Act, as amended and supplemented, all the activities of political parties are required to conform to the principles and objectives underpinning respect for individual and collective freedoms, respect for human rights, democratic values, affirmation of political pluralism, and respect for the democratic, republican character of the State.

- b/ The judicial system

The independence of the judiciary is enshrined in article 138 of the Constitution, which provides that “The judiciary is independent. It functions within the framework of the law”.

The Algerian State has established judicial machinery designed both to safeguard citizens’ rights and to ensure that the justice system will enjoy autonomy in reaching its decisions. Accordingly, the judicial system is organized in a three-level structure: trial courts, courts of appeal, and the Supreme Court. There are also a Council of State, headed by a woman, which regulates the activity of administrative courts, and a Conflict Tribunal responsible for settling jurisdictional issues that may arise between the Supreme Court and the Council of State.

- c/ Institutional machinery 

On 9 October 2001, the President of the Republic formally established the National Advisory Committee on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights, consisting of 45 members, including 16 women. The Committee’s composition and the appointment of its members are based on the principle of sociological and institutional pluralism.

This institution is an advisory body with responsibility for monitoring, early warning and evaluation in the area of respect for human rights. It is an independent institution mandated to examine situations of human rights violations that it has observed or that have been brought to its attention and to take all appropriate action in that connection. It is also responsible for conducting awareness-raising, information and outreach activities aimed at the promotion of human rights.

The Committee may formulate advisory opinions on national legislation where it deems that improvements are indicated. In addition, it issues an annual report on the state of human rights in Algeria, which it submits to the President of the Republic.

- d / The press

Freedom of information and expression is essential for the monitoring and protection of human rights, serving as a counterweight to State power. The exercise of that freedom is safeguarded under Law No. 90-07, the Information Act, as amended and supplemented.

At the present time, there are 52 daily newspapers, of which only six are State-owned, with an average circulation of approximately 1.7 million copies per day. In addition, there are 98 weeklies with an average circulation of over 2.3 million copies, and 43 other bimonthly or monthly periodicals with a circulation of 275,000 copies.

- e / Associations and trade unions

Freedom of association for the defence of human rights features prominently in the Algerian Constitution. The individual or collective defence of those rights is safeguarded under article 32, and article 41 defines their scope: freedom of expression, freedom of association and freedom of assembly. Freedom of association extends to the protection of the rights of various categories of persons, including women, children, the sick, the disabled, consumers, and users of public services. Lastly, the terms and conditions governing the exercise of the right to form trade unions are set forth in Law No. 90–14 of 2 June 1990. At the present time, Algeria has 57 organizations dedicated to the defence of corporatist rights or the rights of particular categories of workers, covering, by their own estimates, over 2.5 million workers. There are also 23 employers’ associations, including three confederations.

- f/ International treaties and the domestic legal system

On 20 August 1989, the Constitutional Council issued a decision reaffirming the principle enshrined in the Constitution to the effect that international treaties, once ratified, take precedence over domestic law. The decision stated, in part, “Every convention, after having been ratified and upon being published, becomes part of domestic law and, under article 132 of the Constitution, acquires an authority higher than that of the law, allowing any Algerian citizen to adduce it before the courts.”

- g/ Cooperation with international human rights bodies

Algeria has acceded to and ratified nearly all international human rights instruments and regularly discharges its obligations thereunder by submitting periodic reports to the relevant committees established pursuant to those instruments.

Concurrently, Algeria maintains sustained, constant cooperation with Special Rapporteurs and other working groups of the Human Rights Council. It also maintains cooperation relations with the organizations of the United Nations system, the international humanitarian movement, and the community of non-governmental organizations.

- h/ Human rights education

Human rights education is a feature of the education system. Primary schools teach children about the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Universities, for their part, take a broader and more in-depth approach, offering modules (which are kept up to date) on human rights. Such modules are an integral part of the programmes of instruction at the National College of Magistrates, the National Police Academy, the National School of Prison Administration and the National Gendarmerie Schools.

III . Information and publicity

Algeria’s ratification of international human rights instruments has been widely publicized in the national media when those instruments were submitted for consideration. All such instruments, once ratified, have been published in the Official Gazette of the Republic of Algeria.

The yearly celebrations of Human Rights Day, International Women’s Day, International Children’s Day, the International Day of the Family, the International Day of Older Persons and the International Day of Persons with Disabilities are renewed opportunities for using organized events to acquaint the general public with the various human rights instruments to which Algeria is a party.

These occasions also afford opportunities to assess the impact of actions undertaken by the authorities and to draw lessons with a view to making such actions more effective.

IV. Human rights and the effort to combat terrorism:

Algeria has been confronted with the phenomenon of terrorism since 1991. The effort to combat that scourge has made it necessary to resort to special measures, but these have been adopted in a legal context in which human rights are safeguarded.

To deal with this exceptional situation, the Algerian authorities decided, in accordance with the Constitution, to declare a state of emergency in February 1992. While some restrictions were placed on the exercise of certain rights, the state of emergency did not relieve the State of its obligation to safeguard the exercise of the fundamental freedoms that are enshrined in the Constitution and emphasized in international conventions.

In point of fact, the exceptional measures adopted under the state of emergency were accompanied by safeguards designed to protect human rights. The non-derogeable rights and freedoms set forth in international instruments were not subject to any restrictions, and the electoral process continued, with elections, most of them supervised by teams of international observers, being held at regular intervals.

In order to facilitate a return to civil peace, the State initiated clemency measures for terrorists wishing to repent. The Civil Concord Act of 1999 and the Charter for Peace and National Reconciliation were designed to put an end once and for all to the consequences of the crisis that had racked the country during the 1990s. Their adoption by referendum established a national stabilization mechanism and testified to the nation’s solidarity with and compassion for all the victims of the national tragedy and their families.

B . / The Government of Algeria ’s replies to the recommendations formulated by the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women following its consideration of the second periodic report

Preliminary remarks :

By ratifying the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, Algeria turned that international instrument into a source of law. By incorporating that additional standard into its national legislation, it decided to commit itself even more fully to the concept of non-discrimination.

Reply to recommendations 19-20:

The Charter for Peace and National Reconciliation, which attracted a nation-wide consensus and was approved democratically, provided legal, human and social responses for the victims of the national tragedy.

Reinforcement of the foundation upon which social rights rest is one of the components of the Charter’s implementing statutes, especially for persons who found themselves in a situation of distress and vulnerability following the loss of a family member as a result of his involvement in terrorist activities or dismissal from his employment.

The Algerian State decided to assume responsibility for persons belonging to these categories of victims. To that end, it adopted the following statutory instruments:

‑Presidential decree No. 06-94 of 28 February 2006 on State assistance to families that were experiencing hardship as a result of the involvement of one of their members in terrorist activities,

‑Presidential decree No. 06-124 of 27 March 2006 setting forth the terms and conditions governing reinstatement or compensation for persons who had been affected by administrative dismissal action on grounds related to the national tragedy.

The financial resources allocated to compensate victims of the national tragedy amounted to 21.6 billion Algerian dinars in 2008.

By 15 July 2008, the wilaya-level committees mandated to give effect to the implementing statutes of the Charter for Peace and National Reconciliation had received 25,124 claims for compensation, including:

‑13,680 claims from families that were experiencing hardship as a result of the involvement of one of their members in terrorist activities,

‑11,444 claims for compensation or applications for reinstatement from persons who had been affected by administrative dismissal action on grounds related to the national tragedy.

Following investigation of claimants’ situations, 55.13 per cent of these claims were found to be eligible for State assistance, and of that total, 86.29 per cent, i.e. 11,954 claims in all, both categories taken together, were approved.

The total amount earmarked for compensation payments is approximately 8,796 billion Algerian dinars, compared to 7,236 billion dinars allocated in January 2008, making an increase of approximately 1,561 billion dinars.

a) social assistance: Social assistance is made available to victims on a case-by-case basis:

‑school solidarity.

‑operation “school holidays”.

‑Ramadan solidarity.

‑operations “Umrah” and “hajj”.

‑thermal treatment.

‑thalassotherapy treatment.

b) compensation: Compensation is paid in accordance with the regulations, viz. a monetary sum based on harm incurred (injury or death) paid out of the Compensation Fund for Victims of Terrorism.

c) care for child victims of terrorism : Shelter facilities in the form of four homes (in Algiers, Bouira, Oum El Bouaghi and Relizane) for orphaned children who are victims of terrorism. These homes can accommodate a total of 300 children. The children stay there for highly variable lengths of time before being retrieved and returned to their families.

Reply to recommendations 21-22

It is noteworthy that both the Constitution and other statutory instruments and regulations are worded in an impersonal style that applies equally well to both men and women without any distinction of any kind.

The international legal instruments ratified by Algeria and the provisions contained in the Constitution and in the statutory instruments and regulations currently in force all without exception prohibit any form of discrimination on any grounds whatever. Algeria’s acceptance of the principle of the exercise of rights without discrimination of any kind is reflected in:

(1) - The Constitution, including articles 27, 29 and 31 in particular.

Articles 29 and 31 enshrine the principles of the equality of all before the law, the equality of all citizens in rights and duties, and the removal of obstacles to the full development of all as human beings and participation by all in political, economic, social and cultural life.

It is worth noting at this point that any legislation containing discriminatory provisions would be struck down by the Constitutional Council. This is an unalterable principle to which there can be no exceptions.

(2) – Statutory instruments and regulations that promote the exercise of those rights in all areas of national life:

‑In the political arena, access to electoral office is not subject to any restrictions of any kind whatever. Under the Political Parties Act, no female or male citizen may be denied his or her right to engage in activity within a political party, to rise to decision-making posts within that party, and to hold electoral office at all levels (policy-making and executive bodies within political parties, the Government, electoral assemblies at the local and national levels, and so on).

Needless to say, access to political office is open to all female and male citizens who enjoy their full civil and political rights.

‑In the field of economic activity, whether in the public or private sector, no discrimination is observable or tolerated, and there is no inequality among applicants for executive posts, apart from any that may be specified for purposes of the selection process.

Equal access to the civil service is governed by a general statutory instrument. Candidates are selected on the basis of their qualifications and the skills and abilities required for particular posts. The selection process is fully transparent. Access to employment in the private sector is governed by the same statutory provisions.

‑In the social sphere, labour relations and social security and retirement benefits are governed by legislation and regulations that apply to all workers without exception.

Reply to recommendations 23-24

Algeria ratified the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women by decree No. 96-52 of 22 January 1996, with reservations to article 2, article 9, paragraph 2, article 15, paragraph 4, article 16 and article 29.

(a) Article 2: The reservation entered by Algeria was worded as follows: “The Government of the

People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria declares that it is prepared to apply the provisions of this article on condition that they do not conflict with the provisions of the Algerian Family Code.”

This article, which defines the concept of discrimination against women, provides that States shall pursue various forms of action to eliminate all discrimination, including in particular the adoption of legislative measures, the establishment of legal protection for women, and the taking of appropriate measures to modify or abolish existing laws, regulations, customs and practices which constitute discrimination against women.

As we have clearly seen, non-discrimination is one of the great principles enshrined in the Constitution and in Algeria’s legislation and regulations. Those principles promote and protect women’s exercise of civil and political rights and economic, social and cultural rights in all areas of national life. Personal status is governed by the Shariah, including matters of inheritance in particular. These issues are subject to laws of divine origin which apply to all Muslims. Those laws are peremptory and unalterable.

(b) Article 9, paragraph 2 :The reservation entered at the time of ratification was worded as follows: “The Government of the People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria wishes to express its reservations concerning the provisions of article 9, paragraph 2, which are incompatible with the provisions of the Algerian Nationality Code and the Algerian Family Code.”

This reservation, which was formulated at the time when the old Nationality Code was in force, before the reform adopted in 2005, has now been withdrawn. The President of the Republic announced its withdrawal on the occasion of International Women’s Day on 8 March 2008.A Presidential Decree, No. 08-426, providing for the withdrawal of the reservation was published in Official Gazette No. 05 of 21 January 2009.

(c) Article 15, paragraph  4: The reservation is worded as follows: “The Government of the People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria declares that the provisions of article 15, paragraph 4, concerning the right of women to choose their residence and domicile should not be interpreted in such a manner as to contradict the provisions of chapter 4 (art. 37) of the Algerian Family Code.”

The choice of domicile or residence is an aspect of marriage that is left entirely to the discretion of the husband, either at the time the marriage contract is concluded or subsequently in a valid contract, in accordance with article 19 of the new Family Code, which provides that “The husband and wife may stipulate in the marriage contract or in a subsequent valid contract any clause they may deem fit, including in particular clauses relating to polygamy and the wife’s work.”

In Algeria’s day-to-day reality, this reservation is inoperative. Owing to socio-economic changes, many married couples are prevented from cohabiting for economic reasons, where the husband’s place of work is far from the family home.

Furthermore, there are statutory provisions, such as those contained in the Status of the Magistracy Act (Law No. 04-11 of 6 September 2004), which lay down binding rules for any magistrate who “… may not work in a jurisdiction in which his or her spouse has his or her office, where the spouse is a practising lawyer.” Here we have a situation where cohabitation is legally impossible.

In the case of an unmarried woman who is of age, there are no provisions of law or regulations that prevent her from freely choosing her domicile or residence. This is a right enshrined in the Constitution (the principle of freedom of movement within the national territory).

Reply to recommendations 25-26

Family Code

The Family Code was promulgated by Law No. 84-11 of 9 June 1984, and had never been amended.

It was in need of amendment, partly because of changes that had occurred in Algerian society and demands from a number of fringe social groups, and partly because it was not consistent with international conventions, including in particular the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women and the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Accordingly, the Government decided to draft legislation aimed at responding to concerns relating to family law and the status of women in society.

A national commission established for that purpose reported that the Algerian family had evolved from one headed by the husband into a nuclear family based on task-sharing and mutual assistance between husband and wife.

Accordingly, Ordinance No. 05-02 of 27 February 2005 was issued, amending Law No. 84-11 of 9 June 1984, the Family Code, in a number of areas. The most important of these are summarized below.

(a) Marriage

Marriage in family law is now deemed to be a contract by mutual agreement requiring the consent of the prospective spouses. In practice, this has meant the abolition of proxy marriage. Article 9 provides that “Every marriage contract shall be concluded by an exchange of consent between the parties.”

Consent, in the eyes of the law, is deemed to be an essential component of a marriage. If either party has not consented, the marriage is invalid, and any concerned person, including the parties, may petition the courts to have it annulled.

On this aspect, it is important to note the role played by the Public Prosecutor’s representative for personal status, which under Algerian law is deemed to be an aspect of public policy. Accordingly, the Procurator of the Republic may use all available legal means to enforce the law in cases submitted to him.

In line with the above, article 3 bis of Ordinance No. 05-02 of 27 February 2005, amending and supplementing Law No. 84-11 of 9 June 1984, the Family Code, provides that “The Public Prosecutor’s Office shall be a party to all actions brought to enforce the provisions of this law.”

Article 13 of the Ordinance provides that “The wali, whether the father or another person, is prohibited from compelling a minor person under his guardianship to contract marriage, nor may he give her in marriage to anyone without her consent.” In addition to their consent, the parties to a marriage must enjoy full legal capacity in order for the contract to be valid.

For both men and women, the legal capacity required for marriage is that they must be nineteen years of age. This constitutes a form of safeguard for the preservation of their personal rights, including in particular those of the woman, who can thus give her informed consent in full awareness of what she is undertaking.

Article 36 of the new Family Code sets forth the rights and duties of spouses. The old concepts of obedience to the husband and respect for the husband’s parents and family members have been abolished and replaced by the reciprocal rights and duties of the husband and wife themselves, including in particular “the preservation of conjugal ties and cohabitation in harmony and mutual respect.”

Article 36 reads as follows:

“The duties of both spouses are as follows:

‑the preservation of conjugal ties and the duties of life together,

‑cohabitation in harmony, mutual respect and kindness,

‑contributing jointly to preservation of the family’s interests, the protection of their children, and the provision of a sound education for them,

‑mutual agreement in the management of the family’s affairs, and the spacing of births,

‑respect for their respective parents and other family members, and visits to them,

‑preservation of the ties of kinship and good relations with parents and other family members,

‑each spouse has the right to visit and receive visits from his or her parents and other family members in kindness.”

(b) Polygamy

The practice of polygamy is exceptional in Algerian society.

Recent legislation containing strict requirements that make the practice particularly difficult has been enacted, in the form of the Ordinance of 27 February 2005, which lays down new rules with which the husband is required to comply.

In all cases, the husband must secure the express consent of his first wife and also of the future wife in order to contract a new marriage. He must also obtain permission from the presiding magistrate of the Family Court. The magistrate is required to determine whether the alleged reason is justifiable and whether the husband is prepared and able to provide both wives with equal treatment and the conditions necessary for conjugal life.

In the event of wilful misrepresentation, either wife may bring suit for divorce (article 8 bis). The new marriage is annulled, before its consummation, if the husband has not obtained the court’s permission (art.8 bis, para. 1).

(c) Divorce

Under the new legislation, the grounds on which a wife may sue for divorce have been broadened. For example, she may now allege inconsolable differences with her husband or failure to observe the conditions set forth in the marriage contract or a contract concluded subsequently.

Reparations are an essential component of every divorce judgement. Failure to comply with a court award of reparations is a criminal offence making the recalcitrant husband liable to prosecution. Algerian criminal courts have dealt with such cases with great severity.

In order to avoid practices that were adopted in the past, consisting of delaying manoeuvres on the part of the first husband with a view to preventing his ex-wife from remarrying, every decision of a court of first instance granting a divorce is final and binding and may not be appealed to a higher court (court of appeal), except in respect of property issues. Once the ruling has been issued, the clerk of the court in question enters a transcript of the judgement of divorce in the civil status records.

(d) Custody ( hadana )

Amendments to this part of the Family Code conform to the principle of the overriding importance of the child’s interests. Accordingly, the father is now in second place, after the mother, in the order of persons to whom custody may be awarded.

In the great majority of cases, Algerian civil courts have awarded custody of the child or children to their mothers. Where this is the case, the father is required under the new provisions of law to provide a decent dwelling, or failing that, financial support in an amount adequate to cover the cost of rental accommodation, so that the mother can exercise her custody under acceptable conditions. Lastly, a working mother can no longer be deprived of her right of custody (article 67, paragraph 2).

(e) Guardianship

Remarkable progress has been achieved in the area of mothers’ guardianship of their children. Specifically, a mother now enjoys:

‑authority to act in the father’s place, in an emergency, in carrying out certain acts of civil life (such as administrative formalities or the children’s education), where the father is absent or unable to act in the matter;

‑the right of guardianship, following a divorce, over her own children where she has custody of them.

(f) New procedural rules

‑The Public Prosecutor’s Office is a party to all court cases involving enforcement of the provisions of the Family Code, in view of the fact that affairs of concern to families are an aspect of public policy and families must be protected;

‑Compulsory entry of transcripts of court rulings validating marriages and divorces in the civil status records at the suit of the Public Prosecutor’s Office;

‑Judges are required to make several serious attempts to reconcile the spouses before issuing a ruling of divorce, in order to give them an opportunity of reconciling their differences;

‑The presiding magistrate now has authority to order, upon request, temporary measures relating to financial support, the custody of children, visiting rights and accommodation.

Material amendments to the Nationality Code

The new Nationality Code reflects significant changes in nationality law, more particularly as regards the terms and conditions governing the acquisition, loss and forfeiture of nationality. Under the new Code:

1 – Algerian nationality may now be acquired by marriage with an Algerian man or woman, where the applicant meets the conditions set forth below, which are taken from article 9 bis of Ordinance No. 05-01 of 27 February 2005. Every applicant is required to:

‑prove that the marriage is legal and has continued for at least three years at the time the application for naturalization is submitted,

‑have had an habitual, regular place of residence in Algeria for at least two years,

‑be of good conduct and good character,

‑show evidence of adequate resources.

A conviction for an offence in a foreign country is not necessarily deemed to be relevant.

2 – Every child born to an Algerian father or an Algerian mother is deemed to be Algerian.

3 – Forfeiture of nationality shall not extend to the spouse or minor children of the person concerned. However, it may extend to children where it also extends to their parents.

Article 18, paragraph 3, provides that every Algerian woman who, upon marrying a foreign national, acquires her husband’s nationality by the fact of her marriage, shall lose her Algerian nationality, subject to the condition that she has been authorized by decree to renounce her Algerian nationality.This would seem to imply that in such a case, the Algerian woman must expressly apply for permission to renounce her nationality, failing which she retains her original nationality.

It is noteworthy that a campaign designed to promote awareness of the new provisions of the Family Code and the Nationality Code has been organized. It features regularly scheduled one-day conferences and seminars for magistrates and civil society with a view to enabling participants to become familiar with the amendments discussed above.

Reply to recommendations 27-28

According to the Constitution, justice is founded on the principles of legality and equality. Article 140 states, “It is equal for all, accessible to all, and is expressed by respect for the law.” These principles are given practical application by the provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure and the Code of Civil and Administrative Procedure.

In Algeria, there is not a single statute that places obstacles in the way of any woman whose rights have been infringed—among other things, who has been a victim of discrimination—and wishes to seek redress through the courts.

Persons on trial may adduce the provisions of the Convention in court, even though the Convention has not been transposed into legislation.

Lastly, access to justice is safeguarded through a system of legal assistance that enables all citizens to resort to the courts, regardless of their economic situation.

ACTION TO MAKE WOMEN AWARE OF POSSIBLE JUDICIAL REMEDIES FOR ACTS OF DISCRIMINATION:

In order to put an end to all forms of discrimination against women, Algerian law provides for redress through the ordinary court system, which broadly speaking have competence in civil, commercial, social and criminal matters.

The law makes provision for various ways of initiating action: (1) by means of a summons to appear before the competent court. Both plaintiff and defendant are required to attend, either in person or represented by counsel; representation by counsel is compulsory only in cases heard by the highest courts (Supreme Court and Council of State). The plaintiff is the victim of the act of discrimination, while the defendant may be an individual or the legal representative of a corporation or business; (2) by lodging a complaint with the prosecutor’s office or the judicial police; (3) by lodging a complaint and a claim for criminal indemnification before an examining magistrate (this procedure short-cuts the tendency of prosecutor’s offices to move slowly in initiating prosecutions); or (4) by means of a direct summons before the court in certain cases.

A woman who considers that she has been victimized by discriminatory behaviour can thus take action to have the effects of such behaviour terminated by having a summons issued by a court with jurisdiction in:

‑Personal status matters where the discriminatory behaviour is alleged to contravene a provision of the Family Code and infringe upon her rights (relating to marriage, divorce, custody of children, guardianship, inheritance and the like);

‑Social matters, where the discriminatory behaviour constitutes a breach of the laws governing labour relations;

‑Commercial matters, where the discriminatory behaviour has had the effect of unbalancing a contractual employment or trade relationship in the strict sense;

‑Criminal matters (courts with jurisdiction for non-indictable or correctional offences) where the discriminatory behaviour constitutes a breach of the Criminal Code (such as sexual harassment in the workplace).

It is important to note that various remedies are also available in cases where the plaintiff wishes to challenge the court’s decision (e.g. by means of an appeal or a petition to have the ruling quashed).

In cases involving administrative matters, the appropriate remedy provided by law with a view to putting an end to discriminatory behaviour against women on the part of a government body or official is an action alleging abuse of power or an application for annulment. The case may be brought before the administrative court having jurisdiction (an administrative tribunal or the Council of State, depending on the status of the defendant).

As a rule, the outcome of an action of this kind, when upheld, is restoration of the rights of the woman who had been subjected to discrimination.

It is important to note that administrative courts may also, in certain cases, hear cases alleging discrimination against women in political life, especially cases involving the governing bodies of political parties.

With respect to this matter, the Constitution has recently been amended, with the insertion of an article that reads as follows: “The State shall take action to promote the political rights of women by providing them with greater opportunities for representation in electoral assemblies.” An Act setting forth the terms and condition governing this constitutional provision is currently being drafted and will shortly be submitted to Parliament for adoption.

In sum, Algerian law provides a full range of remedies designed to eliminate all forms of discrimination against women.

METHODS USED TO PROMOTE AWARENESS OF AVAILABLE JUDICIAL REMEDIES:

Action to promote awareness of the judicial remedies available to women who have been the targets of discrimination has been conducted on several fronts:

Within civil society, targeted meetings have been organized on themes with a bearing on the issue (associations, professional organizations, the National Advisory Committee on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights, sectoral human rights councils and other bodies);

Through official State channels (including in particular ministries and other public institutions), all of which set aside special days for advice and consultation. Those same channels may even intervene to provide mediation in an effort to resolve recognized cases of discrimination;

By publicizing the relevant legislation at various Internet sites (e.g. a guide for persons awaiting trial is available at the Ministry of Justice site);

By establishing Internet links through which cases of discrimination can be reported, consultation requested, and complaints lodged in some cases.

Reply to recommendations 29-30

Many institutions and organizations are currently adopting the method of gender-disaggregated data in preparing their reports. This approach has been strengthened by the implementation of a Government programme adopted by Parliament in 2007. It emphasizes further integration of a gender approach into all national programmes.

These surveys and others, such as the third Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (“MICS 3”), constitute sources of information for various institutions when engaged in the preparation of sectoral and national plans and reports.

Useful available indicators

Indicator

Value

Source /Year

Total area (km²)

2,381,741

Total population

Men (%)

Women (%)

34.8 million

50.57

49.43

General Population and Housing Census 2008

Concentrated population (%)

86.0

General Population and Housing Census 2008

Average age of population

28.3 years

General Population and Housing Census 2008

Population density (inhabitants/km²)

14.6

2008

Number of births (thousands)

Girls (%)

Boys (%)

783,236

48.7

51.3

Civil Status 2007

Number of deaths (thousands)

149,000

Crude birth rate (per 1000 live births)

22.98

Natural rate of increase (%)

1.86

Infant mortality rate (‰)

Girls

Boys

26.2

24.4

27.9

Probability at birth of not surviving to the age of 5 (per 1000 live births)

Girls

Boys

30.9

28.8

32.7

Life expectancy at birth (years)

Women

Men

75.7

76.8

74.7

Number of marriages

325,000

Marriage rate

9.55

Maternal mortality rate (per 100 ,000 live births)

88.9

Estimates, Population Directorate, Ministry of Public Health and Hospital Reform – 2007

Total fertility rate (%)

2.27

MICS 3 − 2006

Contraceptive use rate (%)

Modern methods (%)

61.4

52,0

Average age at marriage (years)

Women

Men

29.9

33.5

School enrolment rate, 6-14 age group ( %)

Girls

Boys

94.3

93.5

95.0

Illiteracy rate, population 10 years of age and over ( %)

Men

Women

22.1

15.5

28.9

General Population and Housing Census – 2008

Employment rate (%) (ratio of population employed to population of working age)

37.0

Household participation, employment and unemployment survey. ONS 2008.

Labour force participation rate (%) (ratio of labour force to total population)

41.7

Female participatiion rate (%)

16

Unemployment rate (%)

11.7

Extreme poverty rate (%)

0.6

LSMS 2005, Ministry of National Solidarity

Poverty rate (%)

3.6

Total gross household income

4249 billion

Reply to recommendations 31-32

Violence against women is not a phenomenon unique to Algeria. It occurs in all parts of the world, and consequently has attracted the attention of numerous countries, which are endeavouring to eliminate it.

This phenomenon, in all its forms, is viewed as a process in the course of which aggressive, violent, even destructive behaviours are adopted (by men in a majority of cases) against women. It is essential to bear in mind that there is no single profile characteristic of women who become victims of behaviours of this kind. They come from all social strata and include both working women and homemakers, in both urban and rural areas, in the public sphere or in the privacy of their homes.

In Algerian law, domestic violence is a criminal offence, with no preconditions.

Domestic violence is defined as violent acts committed within the family unit in the broad sense, consisting of members that are united by ties of blood or marriage. Such acts include the infliction of bodily harm, sexual aggression and emotional trauma.

Victims of domestic violence involving husbands and wives, members of different generations (acts of violence committed against children in particular), collateral relations (acts of violence against sisters or committed by uncles, etc.), or persons related by marriage, are protected by the law, which makes provision both for criminal prosecution and for civil reparation.

NATIONAL LEGISLATION

The work of bringing the provisions of national legislation and regulations up to date is continuing, with the drafting of provisions relating to all forms of violence and discrimination against women, including domestic violence.

a / The Constitution

The Algerian Constitution includes a number of provisions relating to the protection of integrity and human rights in general, and it also prohibits all forms of violence on any pretext. The relevant provisions are as follows:

‑ Article 29: “All citizens are equal before the law. No discrimination shall prevail because of birth, race, sex, opinion or any other personal or social condition or circumstance.”

Article 31: “The purpose of institutions is to ensure the equality in rights and duties of all citizens, both men and women, by removing the obstacles that hinder human progress and impede the effective participation of all in political, economic, social and cultural life.”

Article 32: “Fundamental freedoms and human rights and citizens’ rights are guaranteed.”

‑ Article 34, paragraph 2:“The State guarantees the inviolability of the human person. Any form of physical or psychological violence or injury to self-respect is prohibited.”

Article 35: “Violations of rights and freedoms, and physical or psychological injury to the human person are subject to the penalties prescribed by the law.”

Article 63: “All individual freedoms are exercised subject to respect for the rights of others that are recognized by the Constitution, in particular respect for the right of honour, intimacy, and protection of the family, young persons and children.”

b/ The Criminal Code

The Criminal Code includes many provisions dealing with the victims of violence. Some of them do not distinguish between men and women as victims, while others, in contrast, are concerned with the protection of women and children (including girls in particular).

It is noteworthy that chapter II of the Code, entitled “Felonies and misdemeanours against the family and public decency”, deals with offences relating to abortion, the exposure and abandonment of children or incompetent persons, felonies and misdemeanours concerning acts aimed at concealing the identification of a child, infanticide, abduction and non-representation of minors, family abandonment, patricide, violence against a relative who is a member of an older or younger generation, and the like.

In this context, the provisions outlined below are particularly noteworthy.

* Wilful acts of violence: Under this heading, articles 264 to 276 set forth the penalties prescribed for wilful blows and injuries. Under articles 264 and 265, persons found guilty of such acts are liable to fines and imprisonment where the violence results in illness or inability to work for a period exceeding 15 days, or penal servitude for a specified length of time or for life, depending on the consequences of the act of violence for the victim. Article 269, for its part, prescribes penalties for acts of violence committed against minors under 16 years of age. Articles 267 and 272 deal with acts of violence against lineal ascendants (mothers, specifically) and descendants (daughters) respectively.

* Family abandonment: Articles 330 to 332 provide that this offence shall be punishable by a term of imprisonment ranging from two months to three years, in addition to a fine.

* Offences against morality: Offences in this category are punishable under articles 333 and following of the Criminal Code, depending on whether the offence in question involves:

1Gross indecency: article 333,

2Sexual molestation: articles 334 and 335, which read as follows:

Article 334: “Every act of sexual molestation committed or attempted without violence upon the person of a minor under 16 years of age of either sex shall be punishable by a term of imprisonment of five to ten years. Every act of sexual molestation committed by an ascendant upon the person of a minor, including a minor 16 years of age, but not emancipated by marriage, shall be punishable by a term of penal servitude of five to ten years.”

Article 335: “Every act of sexual molestation committed or attempted with violence against any person of either sex shall be punishable by a term of penal servitude of five to ten years. Where the offence is committed upon the person of a minor under 16 years of age, the offender shall be liable to a term of penal servitude of 10 to 20 years.”

* Rape: Under article 336 , a person convicted of rape is liable to a term of penal servitude of five to ten years. The penalty is doubled (becoming 10 to 20 years) where the act is committed upon the person of a minor under 16 years of age. We may recall at this point that rape has been deemed to be a criminal offence since the publication of Ordinance No. 75-47 of 17 June 1975.

* Sexual harassment: Under an amendment to the Criminal Code, introduced pursuant to Law No. 04-15 of 10 November 2004, every individual found guilty of sexual harassment is liable to a term of imprisonment of two months to one year and a fine of 50,000 to 100,000 Algerian dinars. This act is punishable under the provisions of article 341 bis, which reads as follows: “Every person who abuses the authority conferred upon him by virtue of his function or occupation by giving orders to other persons, uttering threats, imposing constraints or engaging in occupational activities with a view to obtaining favours of a sexual nature shall be deemed to have committed the offence of sexual harassment and shall be liable to a term of imprisonment of two months to one year and a fine of 50,000 to 100,000 Algerian dinars. A subsequent offence shall incur double the above penalties.”

* Theft and extorsion: Article 350 bis provides that where theft has been committed with violence or the threat of violence or where it has been facilitated by the vulnerability of the victim owing to age, illness, infirmity, physical or mental deficiency or pregnancy, the offender shall be liable to a term of imprisonment of two to ten years and a fine of 200,000 to 1,000,000 Algerian dinars.

Domestic violence:

‑ Physical domestic violence is a category of criminal offences under the Criminal Code that are punishable by terms of imprisonment or penal servitude or penal servitude for life, besides additional penalties (e.g. where the violence results in a crippled condition). These offences are defined as follows:

*Wilful blows and wilfully inflicted wounds resulting in total inability to work or permanent disablement (e.g. because of mutilation or loss of the use of a limb);

*Blows and wounds inflicted upon ascendants;

*Blows and wounds inflicted by ascendants or persons possessing authority over a child or having custody of a minor under 16 years of age;

*The administration of substances that are harmful to health by an ascendant, a descendant, the spouse or a prospective heir of the victim, or a person having authority over or custody or him or her;

*Involuntary homicide and injuries brought about by clumsiness, carelessness, inattention or negligence;

*Forcible confinement;

*The exposure and abandonment of children or incompetent persons.

‑ Psychological domestic violence is also a category of offences under the Criminal Code, which provides for similar penalties. The offences contemplated under the Code are insults, threats and family abandonment.

‑ Sexual domestic violence is also a category of offences under the Criminal Code, which provides for similar penalties. The offences contemplated under the Code are indecent assault, indecent assault upon a minor under 16 years of age of either sex, rape, incest (sexual relations between relatives in the direct line, between brothers and sisters, etc.), adultery, and aiding and abetting prostitution and procuring. Heavier penalties are prescribed where the offender is the victim’s spouse, father, mother or guardian.

Needless to say, the above list of offences is not exhaustive.

c/ The Family Code

The Law of 9 June 1984, the Family Code, as amended and supplemented by Ordinance No. 05-02 of 27 February 2005, also contains provisions relating to the protection of women’s rights, including:

- Article 3: “The family is based in its mode of life upon union, solidarity, mutual understanding, sound education, good morals and the elimination of social evils.”

- Article 4: “Marriage is a contract by mutual agreementconcluded between a man and a woman in accordance with the prescribed legal formalities. Its purposes include, inter alia, the founding of a family based on affection, kindness and mutual assistance, the moral protection of both spousesand the preservation of family ties.”

- Article 8 deals with the consent of the wife in situations of polygamy.

- Article 13 : “The wali, whether the father or another person, is prohibited from compelling a minor person under his guardianship to contract marriage, nor may he give her in marriage to anyone without her consent.”

- Article 36 defines the rights and duties of both spouses.

d/ The Code of Prison Organization :

Women in detention are entitled to special treatment under Law No. 05-04 of 6 February 2005, the Code of Prison Organization and the Social Rehabilitation of Detainees. The relevant provisions are outlined below.

‑ Article 16, paragraph 7: Postponement of the execution of a sentence of imprisonment for a woman who is pregnant or who is the mother of a child under 24 months of age.

‑ Article 17: Postponement of the execution of a criminal sentence for a woman who is pregnant and after delivery.

‑ Article 28 makes provision for specialized centres for women and minors under 16 years of age respectively (including both persons in pre-trial detention and persons convicted of an offence).

‑ Article 29: establishment of separate quarters for the exclusive accommodation of minors and women in pre-trial detention or who have been convicted of an offence.

‑ Article 50: pregnant women in detention are entitled to appropriate living conditions (diet, care, visits and the like).

‑ Article 51: Care of infants born to women in detention.

‑ Article 52: Every child born in a prison shall be entitled to a birth certificate containing no information relating to the mother’s detention and not indicating the name of the prison.

e/ The Ordinance on legal aid

Title II of Ordinance No. 71-57 of 5 August 1971 on legal aid, as amended and supplemented, is entitled “Assignment of counsel and legal aid in criminal matters”. It provides for broadening of the category of persons eligible for legal aid, including the wife in particular, in matters relating to financial support, custody and housing, and also facilitates access to justice, with a view to safeguarding the right of access to justice and the right to a defence, both of which are enshrined in the Constitution and are among the foundations of the rule of law.

Under article 25, paragraph 1, representation by counsel is provided free of charge in cases involving minors heard before a magistrate for young offenders, a juvenile court, or any other criminal court. In addition, article 28, paragraphs 1, 4 and 5 of the ordinance deal with legal assistance that is available as an unconditional right to martyrs’ widows who have not remarried, minors who are parties to proceedings, any plaintiff in a case involving financial support, and mothers in child custody cases. The ordinance also covers the enforcement of court rulings.

National strategy to combat violence against women

In an effort to consolidate the efforts of the various institutional and civil society agents grappling with this phenomenon, and in the light of concerns about violence against a vulnerable category of persons, a national strategy for combating violence against women has been developed for the period 2007-2011.

Combating gender-based violence (GBV)

This is a multisectoral strategy initiated by the Government with assistance from the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) with a view to contributing to the promotion of gender equity and gender equality in the public and private spheres. Beginning in 2004, concerted action aimed at mobilizing the vital forces of society at both the regional and national levels, involving all the sectors concerned, ultimately resulted in the preparation of the national strategy for combating gender-based violence (GBV).

The strategy includes strategic initiatives and lines of emphasis applied by various agents, including in particular the Ministries of Health and Education and the media, and enlists the cooperation of civil society in its capacity as a listening station in the work of sheltering battered women. International organizations (including UNDP and the European Union) are among the partners participating in the implementation of this strategy.

* The National Strategy’s frame of reference

‑ Islam, the tenets of which include justice, equity and equality between men and women believers, who are required to fulfil the same duties and enjoy the same rights, consistently with the Constitution and the political agenda of the President of the Republic in the matter of the promotion of the status of women and respect for their dignity, and Algeria’s international commitments, including in particular its ratification of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women.

* Aim of the National Strategy

The essential aim of the Strategy is to contribute to sustainable human development, the realization of human rights and equality between men and women citizens through the elimination of all forms of discrimination and violence against women throughout their lives. It features a number of approaches:

Establishment of systems and resources for dealing with the physical, psychological, social and legal aspects of gender-based violence at all stages in women’s lives,

Action to sensitize society and its institutions, including the family, schools and the media, to the issue and promote awareness of it,

Family and community empowerment of women who have survived violence and their social and economic rehabilitation and reintegration,

The formation of coalitions for the purpose of supporting the changes that will be required in order to combat the various forms of discrimination and violence effectively, and to ensure equal rights in the design and implementation of policies, programmes and legislation, including international instruments.

* Action to protect girl children and adolescents from gender-based violence

In adopting a “lifelong” perspective, the National Strategy provides a framework within which it will be feasible to determine to what extent gender-based violence invades the lives of adolescent girls and girl children, and to identify cases calling for urgent intervention, through the initiatives featured in Algeria’s general policy on infancy, childhood and adolescence.

* Areas for intervention

Intervention takes place in three areas:

I: Interpersonal encounters and appropriate, diversified services:

‑Establishment of systems and resources for dealing with the physical, psychological, social and legal aspects of gender-based violence at all stages in women’s lives,

‑Action to ensure the safety and protection of women who have been victims of sexual violence,

‑Action to ensure appropriate care and support on the part of health sector personnel,

_Action to safeguard and strengthen legal protection and legal aid, especially for the benefit of girl children and adolescent girls at risk of violence.

II: Community mobilization:

‑Community mobilization and sensitization,

‑Organization of national and community solidarity,

‑Self-empowerment for women and girls and their economic and social rehabilitation,

‑Action to protect girl children and adolescent girls from gender-based violence,

‑Action to sensitize society and its institutions, including families, schools and the media,

‑Development of programmes that can protect these women and promote their autonomy.

III: Action by political coalitions:

‑Implementation of measures, procedures and reforms in the judicial, legal, institutional and political spheres,

‑Establishment of coalitions/alliances and campaign for change,

‑Action to support the changes that will be required in order to combat the various forms of discrimination and violence effectively, and to ensure equal rights in the design and implementation of policies, programmes and legislation, including international instruments.

* Implementation plan for the strategy:

The Government will shortly embark on the implementation of phase 2 of the project. In this phase, the National Strategy will be put into effect at the national and local levels over the coming five years. The Government-UNFPA joint five-year action plan for the period 2007-2011 includes high-priority actions, programmed in time and space, that are designed to strengthen the technical and institutional capabilities of the various partners with a view to preventing all forms of violence and discrimination and dealing with them adequately.

Objectives in view:

Preparation and operationalization of sectoral plans that are components of a national implementation plan featuring the following main lines of emphasis:

Establishment and/or consolidation of an information system designed to gather and analyse GBV-related data from all sectors and institutions, including NGOs, in order to standardize/harmonize field-generated information and create a national data bank on GBV;

Establishment of diversified, adapted services to ensure access to care, safety and protection for women who have been victims of sexual violence (standards and protocols, provision of shelter, training for service providers, psychological support, legal aid, medical care and guidance);

Establishment of a multisectoral reference, guidance and shelter system;

Self-empowerment of women and girls in difficulty and their reinsertion in economic and social life through development of their personal resources and capabilities by means of social and legal support, and also identification of their vocational training needs with a view to their empowerment and upgrading of their capacities, primarily through access to microcredit facilities;

Preparation and operationalization of a communication strategy aimed at prevention, awareness and social mobilization.

To support the National Strategy for Combating Violence against Women and the operational plan, a national incidence survey was conducted by the Ministry for the Family and the Status of Women. The findings of the survey yielded a clearer view of the phenomenon.

The survey revealed that violence against women was at a moderate level in Algeria, compared to many countries. By way of illustration, composite indicators by type of violence for women with partners (married or engaged) were 2.5 per cent for psychological violence and 9.4 per cent for physical violence. The incidence of domestic violence was 5.2 per cent for physical violence and 0.6 per cent for sexual violence.

With a view to strengthening the ongoing effort to combat violence against women, new criminal legislation has been enacted. The most important provisions are outlined below.

Criminalization of sexual harassment, providing victims with judicial remedies enabling them to enforce their rights and have offenders brought to justice (article 341 bis)

Heavier penalties for theft where the victim is a pregnant woman.

With a view to providing guidance and support for women and girls who have been battered and/or are in difficult situations, shelters and hotline services have been established to give advice and make physical and psychological assistance available to victims. Victims are also eligible for financial support to enable them to achieve self-empowerment through training and access to microcredit facilities.

Information and training for professionals involved in action to combat violence against women

In view of the fact that women’s rights are an integral part of human rights, they are taught to students—prospective magistrates and future guardians of public and individual freedoms—at the National College of Magistrates, the National Police Academy, the National School of Prison Administration and the National Gendarmerie Schools .

The various training facilities run by the National Security Directorate include in their course offerings themes relating to violence in general, but also the various forms of violence experienced specifically by women, including sexual aggression, battering and rape.

In addition, there are courses on preventive measures and means of combating conjugal or domestic violence, as well as procedures for assisting battered women. These courses are taken by persons aspiring to become senior police officers, police inspectors and peace officers, and also serving police officers who are required to take training courses in order to qualify for promotion.

The Ministry for the Family and the Status of Women, for its part, has begun work on the establishment of an information system on violence against women in Algeria. This system, once operational, will be one of the most important components of the entire project after the implementation of the National Strategy for Combating Violence against Women, the national survey on the incidence of violence against women, and a situation report based on available data relating to violence against women.

Overall programme objective

The establishment of a database on violence against women, to be developed jointly with NGOs and institutions for which this issue is of particular relevance, including NGOs, ministries, National Security and the National Gendarmerie.

Content of the information system

The information system is based on:

‑Statistics relating to acts of violence against women;

‑Academic and scientific studies on violence against women in various disciplines, including criminology, sociology, psychology, law, information and communication science and forensic medicine;

‑Literary works, films and artistic productions in general that deal with the theme of violence against women;

‑Journalism devoted to violence against women;

‑Statutory instruments and regulations that address the issue of violence against women directly;

‑The various NGOs, networks and hotline services devoted to the task of providing battered women with assistance and support.

Main lines of emphasis in the process of setting up the information system

This is a two-track process, featuring:

‑A sociological approach, relating primarily to the design of the data gathering plan;

‑An IT approach comprising the design of an open, evolving technical architecture and the development of an application with two key qualities: user-friendliness and high productivity.

Assistance and support for battered women

A number of specialized centres providing assistance and support for women who have been victims of all kinds of violence and are in a situation of distress have been opened. The list includes:

‑Two national centres that take in battered women and girls who are in a situation of distress and provide them with assistance and support (wilaya of Tipaza–Bousmaïl and wilaya of Tlemcen) ;

‑Three diar errahma (shelters) in Algiers, Constantine and Oran;

‑Opening of a telephone hotline (“green number”: 15 27);

‑Multidisciplinary units providing psychological, legal and social support and guidance;

‑Establishment of front-line units providing assistance and support at the local level.

DIAR ERRAHMA of the wilaya of Oran (Misserghine)

Assistance and support for women in a situation of difficulty

Numbe rof women admitted

Nature of violence

Reason for admission

Number of women reintegrated

Type of reintegration

Mental

Physical

Divorce

Homeless

Reintegration problems

Ward of State

Occupational

Family

2004

171

25

57

20

90

54

07

88

27

61

2005

181

45

62

17

105

56

03

106

39

67

2006

136

13

41

31

71

26

08

78

21

57

2007

144

32

48

17

103

20

04

91

28

63

2008

123

36

47

13

76

30

04

81

27

54

TOTAL

755

151

255

98

445

186

26

444

142

302

The Bou Ismaïl Centre: for the period 1999-October 2008, 1511* women and girls were admitted. Of these, 1399 were socially reintegrated.

1999-October 2008

Family reintegration

Restitution of conjugal rights

Reintegration at school or university

Social reintegration (marriage)

Occupational reintegration. Employment or occupational training

571

400

22

26

380

Out of a total of 755 women admitted, 142 were occupationally reintegrated and 302 went back to their families.

The national reception centre in the wilaya of Tlemcen is currently in the process of operationalization.

Djebel El Ouahch, the Dar Errahma in Constantine :

Number of battered women in a situation of distress for the period 2005-2008:

DIAR ERRAHMA of the wilaya of Constantine (Djebel El Ouahch)

Shelter, assistance and support for women and girls in difficulty

Category

Reason for admission

Year

Number

Married women

Conjugal conflict

2005/2006

0

2006/2007

10

2007/2008

16

Victim of violence

2005/2006

6

2006/2007

4

2007/2008

4

Incest

2005/2006

0

2006/2007

0

2007/2008

1

C.B.U

2005/2006

0

2006/2007

0

2007/2008

0

Abandoned elderly person

2005/2006

8

2006/2007

3

2007/2008

4

Divorced

2005/2006

9

2006/2007

4

2007/2008

4

Widowed

2005/2006

7

2006/2007

3

2007/2008

3

Women

Homeless

2005/2006

104

2006/2007

108

2007/2008

69

Girls

With accompanying person

2005/2006

20

2006/2007

22

2007/2008

12

Single mother

2005/2006

7

2006/2007

11

2007/2008

25

Immoral behaviour

2005/2006

7

2006/2007

5

2007/2008

5

Victim of violence

2005/2006

0

2006/2007

0

2007/2008

3

Incest

2005/2006

1

2006/2007

0

2007/2008

1

Abandonment

2005/2006

5

2006/2007

4

2007/2008

5

2005/2006

174

TOTAL

2006/2007

174

2007/2008

152

GRAND TOTAL

2005/2008

500

The Green Téléphone:

As part of the programme for providing shelter, assistance and support for battered women and girls who are in a situation of distress, a “green telephone” code, 15-27, was introduced on 15 October 2007.

Since that time, 45 per cent of all cases of violence that have been reported have been dealt with, thanks to close coordination among the members of the multidisciplinary team. The team is made up of clinical psychologists, sociologists, legal experts, physicians, social assistants, the services of social support directorates in all 48 of the country’s wilayas, front-line units (working at the neighbourhood level) and various specialized structures (government-run establishments).

Green Telephone’s multidisciplinary team works round the clock, 24 hours a day, and is always prepared to provide sympathy and support for callers.

SAMU Social (emergency assistance to street people) in Algeria:

A series of actions aimed at persons in difficult social situations, including families, women, children, adolescents and so on, have been conducted, particularly since the launch of a national programme in December 2003. These actions are designed to provide homeless people who live in the streets with assistance and support.

Summary of actions organized for the benefit of street people under the SAMU Social programme

Year

Data

Cost

2003

Launch of operation

2004

Assistance and support for homeless persons

11,155 persons (8,338 men, 2,817 women)

7,223,000. 00 Algerian dinars

2005

Assistance and support for homeless persons

7 232 persons (5,313 men 1,919 women)

5,464,400.00 Algerian dinars

2006

Assistance and support for homeless persons

6,086 persons (4,177 men, 1,909 women)

3,727,367.00 Algerian dinars

First six months of 2007

Assistance and support for homeless persons

3,189 persons (2,101 men, 1,088 women)

1,951,688.00 Algerian dinars

Total

Assistance and support for homeless persons

27,662 persons (18,040 men, 6,745 women)

18,366,435.00 Algerian dinars

Between 2004 and 2007, a budget allocation of approximately 18,366,435.00 Algerian dinars was spent on assistance and support for homeless people.

Furthermore, 76 shelters with enough aggregate capacity to accommodate 2,377 persons per day have been established. They are served by 683 social workers.

From the time the operation was launched to 30 June 2006, a total of 21,647 homeless persons had been provided with shelter and assistance by the social action teams serving the larger cities in wilayas throughout the country.

In addition, various non-governmental associations and organizations are also contributing to the work of providing battered women with assistance and support.

A number of support services for battered women are run by NGOs, including:

The “Rachda” association, which runs a support service in Constantine;

“S.O.S. femmes en détresse”, an association that runs support services in Algiers and Batna and also has premises in Tamanrasset and Djanet;

The “Wassila” network, which runs a support service in Algiers;

“CIDDEF”, an association that runs a legal and psychological support centre in Algiers;

The “Amusnaw” Association, which runs a support service for battered women and children in Tizi-Ouzou;

The National Committee on Working Women and the General Union of Algerian Workers (UGTA) jointly run a support centre in Algiers for working women who have been subjected to sexual harassment.

Support services for persons in distress:

The “Nour” association, Annaba;

SARP: psychological support services in Algiers, Blida and Boumerdès.

There are also a number of NGOs or public bodies that provide battered women and their children with shelter and temporary accommodation. These services are provided free of charge to users; the costs are borne by the State in the case of public shelters, or otherwise by the NGO concerned. In most cases these NGOs are funded by the State.

Reply to recommendations 33-34

As examples of temporary special measures designed to expedite action to promote equal opportunity, the decisions announced by the President of the Republic on 8 March 2009 are particularly noteworthy. By those decisions, the President instructed ministers to ensure that a reasonable percentage of central directorship posts and leadership posts in public enterprises were filled by women. In addition, he instructed the Minister of Justice to establish a commission mandated to draft a new Act implementing the constitutional principles providing for greater participation by women in electoral assemblies. The commission was duly established, and began its work on 16 April 2009.

The President of the Republic also announced that he intended to continue his policy of appointing women to posts as walis (prefects), ambassadors, university rectors, presiding magistrates and members of the Government.

A prominent national institution, the National Security Directorate, has recently appointed a woman to head the National Police Academy in Algiers and established a unit responsible for promoting the rights of women police officers within the National Security system.

The Ministry of Health is continuing to work on behalf of the advancement of women, pursuant to article 3, paragraph 2, of the Convention, by implementing a maternal health programme under which benefits will be available during pregnancy, at the time of delivery, and during the postnatal period.

Furthermore, a National Strategy for the Promotion and Integration of Women (equity and equality), has been designed with a view to consolidating the fundamental gains that have been achieved by Algerian women in matters relating to civil, political, social, economic and cultural rights. The Strategy reflects the Government of Algeria’s priorities in the area of gender equality.

The Strategy also serves to emphasize the meaningful reality of action for the advancement of women in that it seeks to implement regional and international recommendations in that connection.

The objective is to initiate a long-term socio-cultural process that will require concerted effort on the part of all concerned, at all levels, and will entail the strengthening of integrated, complementary operational mechanisms and the launching of specific sectoral initiatives with a view to abolishing negative socio-cultural baggage that is acting as a drag on the development and evolution of Algerian society.

In the area of recruitment and training, women are encouraged to participate, and the results of successive examinations reveal a trend in the direction of parity, and even more visible participation by girls and women on occasion.

Reply to recommendations 35-36

Action to promote a non-stereotyped, positive image representing women and men presupposes a variety of institutional and associational initiatives. It requires an ongoing mobilization effort, via the media in particular.

It was in that context that Algeria, in collaboration with the African Union and the Economic Commission for Africa, organized a subregional workshop on human rights education, which was held between 17 and 20 March 2007. The seminar was attended by representatives of ministries, public institutions, civil society, and delegates from the North African countries (Tunisia, Libya, Egypt and the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic), along with representatives from UNESCO, ALESCO, the African Centre for Studies and Research on Terrorism (CAERT) and other United Nations agencies.

The central theme of the workshop was “Realizing women’s rights through human rights education”. This theme was articulated around the importance of ensuring that human rights, including women’s rights in particular, were integrated into the education system, and ensuring that children got off on the right foot by teaching them about universal rights and the virtues of tolerance and respect beginning when they were very young.

The accounts presented at the workshop by participating countries showed that those countries had in fact introduced human rights education into their school curricula, but that it was still too soon to be able to gauge its impact. Discussions took place in three working groups, one dedicated to each of the following issues:

Implementation of the world plan of action for the integration of a gender perspective, human rights and women’s rights;

Strategy for security and peace building through human rights education;

Building partnerships (Government, national institutions, NGOs) for the promotion of women’s rights education.

The participants adopted:

1 – A plan of action (2007 – 2009) featuring the following objectives:

Analysis of the present situation with a view to the integration of women’s rights at the primary and secondary levels,

Promotion and strengthening of women’s rights in human rights programmes through a communication and mobilization strategy,

Development of a national strategy for the integration of human rights in school curricula,

Promotion of partnerships among stakeholders at all levels,

The establishment of implementation, monitoring and coordination machinery.

2 - Recommendations relating to:

Integration of a gender dimension in planning,

Strengthening of partnerships with various agents, including NGOs,

Respect for every society’s culture and specificity in the field of human rights,

Integration of the realization of human rights within a sustainable development framework,

Involvement of all institutions in society (family, school, media, public arena, and the like) in working on behalf of respect for and promotion of human rights and women’s rights,

Continued harmonization of national human rights legislation, including in particular legislation dealing with women’s and children’s rights,

Action to enhance awareness and information, aimed primarily at homemakers and rural women,

Action to encourage research and studies on discriminatory forms of behaviour,

Action to strengthen the capacities of agents and professionals (including educators, administrators and the like),

Action to promote the use of new information and communication technologies as platforms for advocacy and information in the field of human rights,

Development of follow-up and assessment tools and machinery.

Furthermore, the Government of Algeria has carried out a reform of the education system featuring action to upgrade teacher training and provide pupils with citizenship education, placing emphasis on national and universal values as they apply to the various subjects taught in schools.

New dimensions have been incorporated into curricula, including human rights education (CRC, international humanitarian law, and the like), population education, health education, global education and environmental education. The principles taught are those with a bearing on the universal values of peace, tolerance, respect for others, mutual assistance and solidarity, and so on.

It is true that there was a time when school textbooks contained illustrations that evoked discriminatory stereotypes, but pupils learn gender equality from today’s textbooks.

In accordance with its unwavering commitment to continued efforts to enhance the image of women through educational activities and actions and awareness-raising campaigns, especially in the field of children’s education, Algeria organized the first International Salon for Children from 3 to 10 November 2008, under the distinguished patronage of the President of the Republic.

The salon, which featured the theme “Education, Citizenship and Environment”, was essentially intended for children and adolescents. Its aim was to enlist the assistance of professionals to teach the values of equality and equity by introducing visitors to the concepts of citizenship and civic responsibility, respect for others with acceptance of differences, and tolerance toward and solidarity with others.

Thanks to the combined efforts of all partners, Algeria has achieved some noteworthy progress in terms of evolving habits of thought and more satisfactory representations of the images and roles of men and women within the family and in society. A recent study on the socio-economic integration of women found that most male respondents described working women as respectable and courageous, and that 54.5 per cent of all women participated in the process of reaching important decisions within the family.

Furthermore, one component of the operationalization of the National Strategy for Combating Violence against Women is a communication, awareness, social mobilization and advocacy programme aimed at changing behavioural patterns and preventing and combating violence against women and girls, especially the latter.

A broad range of awareness-raising actions are being conducted by numerous agents, including some that belong to the Executive, but also various NGOs, such as CIDDEF, RAFD, Rachda, Women in communication, the Wassila network and the Boucebdi Foundation, the National Committee on Working Women, the National Public Health Institute (an intersectoral working group on violence), the media (radio, television, publications), writers, actors and directors, and so on. These actions take the form of awareness campaigns, articles in newspapers and magazines, information guides for victims of sexual harassment, rape and the like and front-line workers who deal with them, meetings, posters and brochures, and drawing competitions for children on the theme of equality between men and women.

Furthermore, the Strategy for the Promotion and Integration of Women includes, as a high-priority measure, a redoubled effort to implement awareness programmes aimed at changing stereotyped images of women’s and men’s roles in society and their responsibilities within the family in particular and within society generally. This measure is to be implemented in cooperation with institutions, civil society and the media.

Another of Algeria’s high-priority actions is consolidation of the constitutional principle of equality by making it more effective and more visible. In this connection, a communication plan structured around awareness-raising is currently being implemented as a means of buttressing the ongoing effort to eliminate stereotyped attitudes. The plan features education system reform, central and regional workshops, audio-visual programming, neighbourhood meetings and various publications.

Reply to recommendations 37-38

On a number of occasions, including 8 March 2008, the President of the Republic has urged political parties to take appropriate measures to encourage the presence of women in the political arena and further promote their participation in business enterprises.

As a means of consolidating gains already made, the President announced on 8 March 2008, International Women’s Day, that he intended to pursue his policy of appointing women to senior civil service posts, and that he had instructed ministers to ensure that a reasonable percentage of central directorship posts and leadership posts in public enterprises were filled by women.

A commission has been mandated to draft a new Act implementing the constitutional principles providing for greater participation by women in electoral assemblies. The new legislation will be based on Law No. 08-19 of 15 November 2008, an Act to amend article 31 of the Constitution. Article 31 is contained in chapter 4 of the Constitution, which is entitled “Rights and Freedoms”. The new wording is as follows: “The State shall take action to promote the political rights of women by providing them with greater opportunities for representation in electoral assemblies.”

By providing women with greater opportunities for representation in electoral assemblies, the amended Constitution provides for expanded representation by women by removing the obstacles that hinder their progress and impede their effective participation in political, economic, social and cultural life.

In the same vein, another high-priority action featured in the Strategy for the Promotion and Integration of Women is measures aimed at achieving greater representation by women in electoral assemblies (by means of quota systems or lists and amendments to existing legislation governing political parties) and their access to senior State posts (central, regional and local directorates, especially in the fields of education, health, and all other sectors containing a substantial proportion of women), besides further awareness campaigns aimed at inducing change in traditional habits of thought.

Information concerning women’s participation in political life will be found in the reply to article 7 above.

Women in the civil service

Article 51 of the 1996 Constitution provides that “Equal access to functions and positions in the State shall be guaranteed to all citizens without any other conditions except those defined by the law.”

Ordinance No. 06-03 of Jumada II 1427 A.H., corresponding to 15 July 2006, the Public Service Act, enshrines the principle of non-discrimination between the sexes for access to employment in the public service. Article 74 provides expressly that “The recruitment of civil servants shall be subject to the principle of equal access to employment.”

The above-mentioned Ordinance also enshrines a number of rights to which women civil service employees are entitled.

‑ Article 27 provides that “There shall be no discrimination among civil servants on the grounds of their opinions, sex, origin, or any other personal or social condition or circumstance.”

‑ Article 129 provides that women civil servants shall be entitled to maternity leave.

‑ Under article 146, women civil servants are entitled to nurturing leave in order to care for a child under five years of age.

Article 214 provides that “During a period of one year from the expiry date of her maternity leave, a mother who is nursing her child shall be entitled to two hours of absence with pay each day during the first six months and one hour during the final six months. These periods of absence may be taken at various times during the day, at the convenience of the employee concerned.”

There are a total of 454,293 women civil servants, accounting for approximately 28.3 per cent of the total number of civil service employees.

1- Distribution of women civil servants by type of contract of employment

The distribution of women civil servants by type of contract of employment is as follows:

‑415,748full-time employees (91.5 per cent);

‑6,713 contractors (1.5 per cent);

Full-time employeesContractorsTerm employees\s‑31,832 term employees (7 per cent).

2- Distribution by activity sector

The Ministry of National Education comes in first place with 206,890 women employees, who account for roughly half (45.5 per cent) of all women civil servants.

The Ministry of Health comes in second place, with 81,919 women employees, who account for 18.0 per cent of all women civil servants.

Other working women are distributed among other ministries, as follows:

‑Interior and Local Authorities: 51,363 employees, accounting for 11.3 per cent of all women civil servants;

‑Higher Education: 30,636 employees, accounting for 6.7 per cent of all women civil servants;

‑Finance: 17,239 employees, accounting for 3.8 per cent of all women civil servants;

‑Occupational Training and Education: 12,166 employees, accounting for 2.7 per cent of all women civil servants;

‑Other sectors: 54,080 employees, accounting for 11.9 per cent of all women civil servants.

National educationPublic healthInterior & loc. auth.Higher educationFinanceOccup. training & ed.Other sectors\s

3- Table showing women civil servants by type of organization, level of responsibility and type of contract of employment

Type of organization

Type of contract of employment

TOTAL

Level of responsibility

Full-time

Contractor

Term

Supervisory

8,066

0

0

8,066

Central Government

Lower-level management

10,051

0

0

10,051

Non-supervisory

9,986

182

1,681

11,849

TOTAL

28,103

182

1,681

29,966

Supervisory

66,950

1,048

186

68,184

Decentralized services

Lower-level management

139,228

701

848

140,777

Non-supervisory

33,950

1,012

7,063

42,025

TOTAL

240,128

2,761

8,097

250,986

Supervisory

27,384

39

2

27,425

Governmental public institutions

Lower-level management

48,085

6

0

48,091

Non-supervisory

32,178

1,802

6,901

40,881

TOTAL

107,647

1,903

6,903

116,453

Scientific, cultural and professional public institutions

Supervisory

12,971

56

0

13,027

Lower-level management

3,920

2

0

3,922

Non-supervisory

3,635

160

2,447

6,242

TOTAL

20,526

218

2,447

23,191

Supervisory

2,515

147

53

2,715

Municipalities

Lower-level management

3,059

1

5

3,065

Non-supervisory

13,770

1,501

12,646

27,917

TOTAL

19,344

1,649

12,704

33,697

OVERALL TOTAL

415,748

6,713

31,832

454,293

4- Women employed with central Governmental agencies, by type of contract of employment

Central Government

Type of contract of employment

Full-time

Contractors

Term

TOTAL

Office of the President of the Republic

1,086

1

212

1,299

Prime Minister’s Office

227

1

91

319

Ministry of Foreign Affairs

496

0

41

541

Ministry of the Interior and Local Authorities

38,146

1,888

11,329

51,363

Ministry of Justice

9,332

0

879

10,211

Ministry of Finance

15,002

52

2,185

17,239

Ministry of Energy and Mining

673

5

102

780

Ministry of Moudjahidine

850

11

185

1,046

Ministry of Communications

76

0

0

76

Ministry of National Education

204,592

1362

936

206,890

Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research

25,542

720

4,374

30,636

Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development

4,858

38

892

5,788

Ministry of Water Resources

1,906

97

348

2,351

Ministry of Housing and Urban Planning

2,765

1,069

589

4,423

Ministry of Health, Population, and Hospital Reform

78,461

1,096

2,362

81,919

Ministry of Youth and Sports

5,826

31

613

6,470

Ministry of Occupational Training and Education

10,122

86

1,958

12,166

Ministry of Culture

1,422

30

466

1,918

Ministry of Religious Affairs and Charitable Endowments

1,116

3

217

1,336

Ministry of Labour and Social Security

752

3

280

1,035

Ministry of Postal Services and Communication and Data Processing Technologies

499

3

74

576

Ministry of Transport

687

8

131

826

Ministry of Trade

2,060

5

169

2,234

Ministry of Small and Mid-sized Business and Crafts

288

1

108

397

Ministry of Industry and Promotion of Investment

432

2

52

486

Ministry of National Solidarity, the Family and the Community Abroad

5,838

84

2,597

8,519

Ministry of Relations with Parliament

37

4

4

45

Ministry of Fishing and Fishery Resources

349

1

86

436

Ministry of Public Works

1,436

106

487

2,029

Ministry of Land-Use Planning, Environment and Tourism

948

6

65

1,019

TOTAL

415,748

6,713

31,832

454,293

Diplomatic service

A brief overview of the representation of women in the diplomatic service will be found in the tables below. It is noteworthy that the number of women employed at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is increasing year by year, reflecting women’s evolving role and place in Algerian society.

WOMEN IN THE DIPLOMATIC SERVICE

Situation at 01 February 2009

CENTRAL GOVERNMENT

Total number of employees

1,052

Number of women

337

% women

32.03%

FOREIGN SERVICES

Total number of employees

1,059

Number of women

204

% women

19.26%

OVERALL

Total number of employees

2,111

Number of women

541

% women

25.63%

WOMEN OCCUPYING SENIOR POSTS IN THE DIPLOMATIC SERVICE

Situation at 01 February 2009

CENTRAL GOVERNMENT

Total senior personnel

160

Number of women

12

% women

7.50%

FOREIGN SERVICES

Total senior personnel

127

Number of women

03

% women

2.36%

OVERALL

Total senior personnel

287

Number of women

15

% women

5.23%

SUPERVISORY PERSONNEL

2009

01/02/2009

CENTRAL GOVERNMENT

Total number of employees

1,052

Number of supervisory personnel

160

% supervisory personnel

15.21%

FOREIGN SERVICES

Total number of employees

1,059

Number of supervisory personnel

127

% supervisory personnel

11.99 %

OVERALL

Total number of employees

2,111

Number of supervisory personnel

287

% supervisory personnel

13.60 %

Reply to recommendations 39-40

The number of women in the workforce displays an upward trend from year to year, as will be seen from the table below.

2008

2007

2001

1999

1992

1977

1966

16.09%

15.07%

14.18 %

09%

11.6 %

7.7%

- 3 %

These figures reflect the Government’s determination to eliminate discrimination against working women, as expressed in the form of an array of statutes prohibiting such discrimination.

Other measures have been adopted in an effort to encourage women to enter the workforce. Most of these have involved machinery designed expressly for that purpose, such as the National Microcredit Management Agency, the National Youth Employment Support Agency, a unit within the National Security Directorate mandated to promote the rights of women police officers, and the women’s employment observatories that have been established for the various economic sectors, including the energy and mining sector in particular, as monitoring, analysis and reflection facilities tasked with formulating proposals for promoting gainful employment among women. Specifically, the functions of these observatories are defined as being:

To integrate the promotion of gainful employment for women into human resources policies in the form of concrete recruiting, training and promotion objectives,

To integrate a gender criterion as a relevant indicator in sectoral plans and reports,

To establish monitoring and evaluation mechanisms for managers responsible for promoting gainful employment for women.

In terms of structure, women’s employment displays the following characteristics, according to the most recent National Human Development Report:

Women, no less than men, work in the informal sector,

The difference between the two sexes is perceptible mainly within the category of self-employed workers,

Among self-employed women, 93 per cent are not declared to Social Security, compared to 69 per cent among their male counterparts (up slightly from 2004),

In 2006, the private sector became the leading employer of women, accounting for 57.3 per cent of the total, compared to 42.7 per cent for the public sector. This marked a reversal from the situation in the previous year: in 2005 just over half of all working women were employed in the public sector,

In 2006, women workers were more highly qualified than men: nearly half (47.5 per cent) of all employed women had completed secondary school or post-secondary studies.

Men view gainful employment for women more favourably when the women are educated. However, Algerian women, like women in other countries, are affected by unemployment (22 per cent).

A study on the socio-economic integration of women in Algeria was conducted by CRASG in 2006 in an effort to identify obstacles to women’s employment. The study covered 4,436 households, including 2,844 in urban areas and 1,594 in rural areas.

The households surveyed included 13,755 women living in both types of area: 8,699 in urban areas (63 per cent) and 5,056 in rural areas (36.8 per cent).

Some of the main findings of the survey are summarized below.

The population covered was essentially young: 62 per cent of the respondents were under 35 years of age, and 77 per cent under 45 years of age. The average age was estimated at 33 years,

Work done by women is largely an urban activity (70.35 per cent),

Level of education remains the most determining factor as regards access to information. The more highly educated a woman is, the more effective her access to information, and the better her chances of entering the workforce,

In the event of an economic recession and the advent of a high rate of unemployment, 63 per cent of the women respondents said that they would like to see equal opportunity for men and women in the matter of hiring,

Approximately 54.5 per cent of the women surveyed participated in the process of reaching important family decisions,

A majority (59.7 per cent) of the women respondents used their right to vote by themselves. The same survey found that 34.8 per cent of the women respondents stated that they did not go to the polling station,

Gainful employment meant a job in the public sector for roughly 60 per cent of the women respondents and a job in the private sector for 40 per cent of them.

Women who worked in the private sector tended to be in the informal sector rather than the formal sector, with the former accounting for 21.5 per cent and the latter for 18.5 per cent.

Level of education is a major selection factor for access to employment in the formal sector. Over 60 per cent of uneducated women respondents were employed in the informal sector, while only 6.4 per cent of them were employed by private firms in the formal sector and 33.5 per cent were employed in the public sector.

Highly educated women were employed in the public sector for the most part (78 per cent), while 20.8 per cent of them were employed by private firms in the formal sector and 1.1 per cent worked in the informal sector.

Working in the informal sector was found to be one of the most common ways of entering the workforce: 86.4 per cent of women employed in that sector had never worked before, and nearly 50 per cent of them stated that they would be willing to leave the informal sector if offered employment in the formal sector.

One fourth of the women surveyed stated that they were working in the informal sector in order to provide for their families, but nearly half (45.34 per cent) of them stated that they were doing so in order to provide for their own personal needs. Their objective was to seek personal independence by obtaining access to income.

The study had a number of recommendations for improving the situation of women working in the informal sector:

Action to develop, primarily through mainstream media such as television and radio, information about institutional machinery designed to promote and support job creation (the Social Development Agency, the National Microcredit Management Agency), taking as models women who have executed projects,

Action to organize support and guidance in developing and executing their projects by enlisting the help of NGOs and front-line public services, especially in rural areas,

Action to develop training offers that will upgrade learners’ skills and build on previously acquired skills.

The Government is concerned to enable women to reconcile their career responsibilities and their family responsibilities and facilitate their socio-economic integration, and to that end has developed social support and guidance services, primarily in the form of more day care facilities for very young children and more school cafeterias.

A day care promotion programme has resulted in the opening of 1000 infant and child day care facilities throughout the country. In that connection, Algeria’s local development policy has recently been bolstered with a new community assistance programme worth an estimated 74.5 billion Algerian dinars. In addition, since 2007, grants have been available to municipalities with more than 15,000 inhabitants for new infant day care facilities. Approximately 500 municipalities qualify for these grants. The total cost of the operation is an estimated 5.3 billion Algerian dinars.

Rural women, in particular, are being targeted with measures aimed at facilitating and promoting their social and occupational situations. Since the beginning of the 2002-2003 school year, Algeria has introduced 172 specific rural workforce entry courses in addition to the 391 previously existing ones, together with measures aimed at such approaches as apprenticeship training for certain categories of disadvantaged women, distance learning development, training for specific categories of rural women, and training opportunities for homemakers.

Reply to recommendations 41-42

A detailed reply will be found in the discussion on article 14 of the Convention.

Pursuant to a ministerial order issued on 8 June 1998, the National Chamber of Agriculture has established sections for rural women in every wilaya-level CA, mandated to provide facilitation and support.

Every such section is headed by a woman engineer or agricultural technician. The main functions of these sections are as follows:

Highlight the role of women in agricultural production and rural development,

Identify, in collaboration with rural women’s association, training and agricultural extension needs, and provide material and technical support in those areas,

Promote the emergence of broadly-based women’s associations in rural areas.

As a rule, there is a rural women’s association in every wilaya, but there are women’s associations in some municipalities as well. Their activities vary widely in different wilayas. Some examples are given below.

Assistance in the establishment of small family farming and craft operations (small-scale livestock raising, carpet-making, processing of agricultural products, and the like),

Organization of workshops (funded by the wilaya and held at premises made available by the municipal people’s assembly) for occupational training in such fields as sewing, weaving and pottery,

Assistance in obtaining microcredit loans for the acquisition of necessary items (raw materials, livestock, beehives and the like).

The objective is to help rural women enter the workforce and provide for their own needs and those of their families by earning supplementary income. In some wilayas, women have received financial support under specific projects, such as a study on rural women funded by FAO (in Tizi Ouzou, Jijel and elsewhere).

Other wilayas have received European Union funding for small-scale home project start-ups (such as small stock operations).

A gender-disaggregated breakdown of recognized farmers at 31 August 2008 is shown below.

Total farmers

Women farmers

%

802,077

35,920

4.4 %

Non-governmental organizations are participants in both the Rural Development and Renewal Programme and the National Committee on Implementation of the Recommendations of the National Conference on Training, Support and Guidance for Rural Women and Homemakers.

World Rural Women’s Day, 15 October 2008, was the occasion selected by the Government to announce the establishment of a rural women’s network in collaboration with national associations that were members of the rural renewal project and various concerned organizations such as the Arab Organization for Agricultural Development and the Food and Agriculture Organization.

On the occasion of the second National Conference on Training, Support and Guidance for Rural Women and Homemakers, held in Algiers from 7-9 March 2009, the Government announced the founding of a school for rural women offering courses and training programmes for women interested in dairy production. The school will have 13 branches and units specializing in other production sectors besides dairy, vegetables and fruit.

Reply to recommendations 43-44

The Government regards non-governmental organizations as essential partners. It allocates over 600 million Algerian dinars for them in its budget every year, and helps them acquire head offices and premises.

These benefits are available to all NGOs, including those whose mission is to upgrade the status of women.

During the year 2006, the Algerian authorities funded approximately 200 projects for NGOs, of which roughly half were aimed at promoting participation by women in various fields.

In an effort to encourage NGOs to participate in initiatives aimed at addressing social issues, the Government includes them in Advisory Councils. It has also launched a programme under which 48 NGO centres will ultimately be built. Ten of these are now up and running, while four more await only their furnishings and fittings.

National institutions work closely with relevant NGOs and operate in partnership with them in the planning, preparation and execution of strategies and plans of action, including strategies and plans of action with a bearing on the welfare of women and children. In this context, NGOs are full participants in the National Strategy for Combating Violence against Women, the National Plan of Action for Children, and the National Literacy Strategy, to name only those.

In addition, training programmes are organized for the benefit of NGOs in the fields of gender issues, strategic planning, advocacy techniques, gender-based violence and interpersonal communication. This fruitful collaboration is highlighted by the NGOs themselves.

Furthermore, we may note here that the National Advisory Committee on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights was a full participant in the work of preparing this national report.

Lastly, other representative national associations dedicated to the protection and promotion of women’s rights were approached and consulted during the process of finalizing this report. Their contributions focused on constraints encountered in the field affecting implementation of the Convention in Algeria.

Reply to recommendation 47

Algeria is well aware of the serious repercussions that violence against women may have on the emotional condition of children and their affective and intellectual development. Accordingly, at the Middle East and North Africa Regional Consultation held in Cairo from 27 to 29 June 2005, Algeria presented its National Strategy for Combating Violence against Children.

A National Plan of Action for Children, 2008-2015, as announced by the President of the Republic on the occasion of International Children’s Day in 2002, has also been prepared. It is based on the recommendations of the United Nations General Assembly Special Session on Children held in May 2002, the Millennium Development Goals, and the National Development Strategy initiated by the President of the Republic in 2001 in conjunction with the Economic Recovery Support Plan for 2001-2004 and the Supplementary Growth Support Plan for 2005-2009.

Algeria initiated the process of preparing its National Plan of Action for Children in 2005. The aim of the plan is to achieve a more satisfactory understanding of the problems and analyse them with a view to addressing them more effectively.

The National Plan of Action seeks to produce fuller and more accurate information and knowledge about children and to boost coordination among the various ministries and agencies concerned. Accordingly, the Ministry for the Family and the Status of Women has launched and is coordinating the process of preparing the NPA in consultation with Government institutions, civil society, children and adolescents. The coordinating body is the National Committee on Children.

The National Plan of Action for Children comprises a number of main lines of emphasis:

‑Children’s rights,

‑Action to promote a better existence and a healthier life,

‑Action on behalf of quality education,

‑Protection of children.

A steering committee headed by the Ministry for the Family and the Status of Women and including representatives from the partners that contributed to the preparation of the Plan will shortly be established to monitor and assess the implementation of the Plan.

Algeria devotes particular attention to older persons. It has drafted legislation on the protection and promotion of older persons with the aim of protecting these persons more effectively and promoting conditions conducive to the enhancement of their lives, health and well-being, and ensuring that they will continue to enjoy the benefits of mutual assistance and solidarity.

As regards other actions aimed at the implementation of aspects of documents relating to relevant articles of the Convention, it is noteworthy that the National Economic and Social Council produces a national report on human development annually.

Reply to recommendation 48

Algeria ratified the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families by Presidential Decree No. 04-441 of 29 December 2004, which was published in No. 2 of the Official Gazette on 5 January 2005. Algeria submitted its initial report to the Secretariat of the Committee in May 2008.

Part II

Substantive provisions of the Convention

Article 2: Policy aimed at eliminating discrimination against women

Under article 28 of the Constitution, all citizens are equal before the law and no discrimination shall prevail because of birth, race, sex, opinion or any other personal or social condition or circumstance.

Article 132 of the Constitution provides that any ratified international convention takes precedence over domestic law.

After having been ratified and upon being published in the Official Gazette, every such convention becomes part of domestic law and, pursuant to article 132 of the Constitution, acquires an authority superior to that of other legislation. Any Algerian citizen may adduce its provisions before the courts.

It is relevant in this connection to note that the National Committee on Justice Reform has recommended that Algeria’s domestic law should be brought into line with international conventions that it has ratified.

Since 2001, various codes of law (the Civil Code, the Code of Civil Procedure, the Criminal Code, the Code of Criminal Procedure, the Nationality Code, the Family Code, the Commercial Code and so on) have been undergoing revision. This is also part of the process of bringing Algeria’s domestic law into line with international conventions that it has ratified.

The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, for its part, may be adduced before an Algerian court in accordance with the terms of reference that Algeria accepted at the time of ratification, namely, that the provisions of the Convention have legal force and may be adduced before Algerian courts by persons on trial, except articles concerning which Algeria has entered reservations. Any citizen who considers that the provisions of this international legal instrument have been breached in any way may seek redress through the courts.

Furthermore, the full text of the Convention was published in No. 6 of the Official Gazette on 24 January 1996, and its contents have been widely disseminated and awareness of them propagated on an ongoing basis, thanks to the sustained efforts both of the authorities and of NGOs s. Those efforts have included:

Inclusion of the Convention in various programmes of Faculties of Law dealing with public freedoms and in training courses for magistrates at the National College of Magistrates;

The organization of seminars, workshops and symposia on human rights at which the Convention has been discussed and explained and awareness of it promoted;

A Chair of Human Rights has been founded at the University of Oran in cooperation with UNESCO. This has helped promote an integrated system of research, training and documentation on human rights issues.

It is relevant in this connection that Algerian legislation, in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution, enshrines the principle of equality between men and women. There are no domestic statutory instruments or regulations that restrict or limit the rights of Algerian women. Every Algerian woman is free to:

Express her opinions freely by any means;

Found a political party or an association;

Organize meetings or demonstrations;

Fill any public post, exercise her right to vote, or stand for elective office;

Stand as a candidate in any election, including presidential elections;

Serve as a magistrate and occupy any post of responsibility in the judicial system;

Have access to every level of education, including primary, intermediate, secondary and post-secondary education;

Take occupational training courses of any kind, including training courses in fields traditionally dominated by men;

Receive all social benefits available under legislation currently in force;

Have access to all types of health care, both curative and preventive;

Enter into contracts of any kind and freely engage in trade;

Elect domicile and travel within the country, and freely go abroad;

Be eligible for credit or any other form of loans as provided by law;

Have access to employment and be eligible for career advancement and promotion;

Have access to bank loans and mortgages on the same footing as male citizens;

Be entitled to equal pay, legal periods of rest, and retirement benefits on the same footing as men, over and above the specific benefits available to her as a woman;

Freely dispose of her personal assets.

Article 3: Measures to promote de facto equality between men and women

See the reply to recommendations 33 and 34.

Equality between women and men and the protection of women from all forms of discrimination are principles enshrined in the Constitution, which incorporates the rights and freedoms set forth in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Equality between women and men is clearly defined in article 29 of the Constitution, which provides, “All citizens are equal before the law. No discrimination shall prevail because of birth, race, sex, opinion or any other personal or social condition or circumstance.”

Article 31 states that State institutions have a duty to safeguard the equality in rights and duties of all citizens by removing the obstacles that hinder human progress and impede the effective participation of all in political, economic, social and cultural life. Article 50, for its part, expressly formulates women’s political rights in the words, “Every citizen who meets the legal conditions has the right to vote and to stand for elective office,” while article 51 provides that all citizens have equal access to functions and positions in the State.

The fact remains that the weight of ingrained habits of thought and long-standing prejudices, combined with the fact that many women are unaware of their rights, has impeded the implementation of these principles of equality.

The 1990s saw the introduction of a comprehensive initiative aimed at promoting women’s rights, and since that time a new trend has been perceptible, in the form of an effort to bolster participation by women in public life, primarily through access to high-level Government functions and decision-making posts. The numbers of women occupying such posts are still modest compared to their male counterparts, and the State is determined to pursue its efforts on their behalf.

Action to include women in activity creation programmes

Both labour legislation and the General Statute of the civil service enshrine the principle of non-discrimination and provide for equal pay and benefits for the same work, where qualifications and performance are equal.

In an effort to deal with high unemployment and economic recession, the Government has launched a new employment promotion initiative consisting of the development and implementation of an array of programmes designed to create income-generating activities. These State-supported alternative employment programmes are playing a supplementary role that is far from negligible in labour market management.

School-to-work transition programmes are characterized by a complete absence of discrimination or segregation among young persons: girls are eligible on the same footing as boys. These programmes comprise three components:

(a) local initiative jobs, known familiarly as ESILs (emplois salariés d’initiative locale), which are a highly advantageous means of enabling young job-seekers to enter the workforce and take their places in society, especially in disadvantaged neighbourhoods. Women accounted for 48.9 per cent of all participants in 2005.

(b) micro-enterprises: this component consists in helping young persons to start their own businesses by making interest-free loans, bank loans at advantageous rates of interest and other forms of financial assistance available.

(c) microcredit: this component is a programme designed to foster workforce entry and alleviate unemployment and poverty. It has been operational since 1999. It targets categories of unemployed persons who are capable of starting their own businesses but do not qualify for the micro-enterprise component because of their age or because they do not possess the necessary financial resources.

These are small, repayable loans that carry advantageous interest rates. They are backed by a guarantee fund managed by the unemployment insurance plan. As of the end of December 2008, women accounted for 61 per cent of all beneficiaries under this component.

A noteworthy innovation that deserves mention here is the recent establishment of a new microcredit management mechanism in the form of a financial institution specializing in microfinance. It was founded in 2004 as a means of managing the microcredit component more effectively and pinpointing applications from women, unemployed persons and persons 35 to 50 years of age with no income. This mechanism covers several types of loan, including:

‑Bank loans;

‑State assistance in the form of interest-free loans;

‑Interest-free loans to be used for purchasing raw materials up to an amount not exceeding a specified fraction of the interest rate abatement on bank loans.

Sectoral observatories on women’s employment:

The Government’s programme includes the establishment of a research and information centre on the status of women as a means of evaluating the impact of actions aimed at the social and occupational advancement of women. In addition, sectoral observatories on women’s employment have been opened, in the energy sector in particular. The observatory on women’s employment within the SONATRACH Corporation was established by a Ministerial Decision dated 11 February 2002, and since that time the initiative has been extended to other economic sectors. The functions of these observatories are as follows:

‑To promote the hiring of more women employees in all Sonatrach’s activities and functions;

‑To enhance the career prospects of Sonatrach’s women employees on the basis of the rule “Equal opportunity for equal competence”;

‑To facilitate access by women management personnel to posts of responsibility, including operational posts.

Within this framework, these observatories are mandated to perform a number of tasks:

‑Formulate proposals for measures aimed at enhancing career management for women employees, especially in respect of hiring, access to posts of responsibility, and training opportunities;

‑Identify obstacles to career advancement for women employees and formulate proposals for measures designed to facilitate their upward mobility;

‑Develop an awareness and information campaign aimed at managers on the issue of women’s career prospects within the Corporation, using primarily talks and meetings as means of delivery;

‑Build a database on trends relating to woman participants in national and international job markets.

In addition, a number of statutory instruments and provisions of law have been amended and various institutional mechanisms and socio-economic programmes introduced, again showing the Government’s determination to promote the human development process, reduce disparities, and improve families’ living conditions, primarily through development and growth programmes. Substantial budgetary allocations, amounting to over $150 billion, were earmarked for these purposes between 2005 and 2009.

Establishment of the National Council on the Family and Women:

One such institutional mechanism is the National Council on the Family and Women, which was established by Executive Decree No. 06-421 of 22 November 2006 as a means of promoting equality between men and women. It includes representatives from a broad spectrum of organizations, including ministries, departments and agencies, NGOs, professional associations, research centres and specialists in the field.

The Council was officially inaugurated on 7 March 2007. It is mandated primarily to contribute to programme development, conduct research, issue opinions and recommendations, and promote exchanges of ideas and experience with regional and international organizations and institutions that have similar objectives relating to the well-being of families and advancement of the status of women.

Participation by women in the political life of the country

A discussion of participation by women in Algeria’s political life will be found in the reply dealing with article 7 of the Convention.

The issues of women’s economic integration and action to promote investment by women are inextricably bound up with the issue of women’s involvement in political life, and consequently call for careful consideration.

Economic integration and action to promote investment by women

An international workshop on the theme “Women and entrepreneurship in Algeria: opportunities, constraints and outlook” was held on 31 March and 1 April 2008.

The accounts heard at the workshop from women entrepreneurs from Algeria, Tunisia and Morocco, and Belgian Development Cooperation showed that regardless of different countries’ level of development, some trends in the area of women’s entrepreneurship are identical. The participants were informed that the path of the woman entrepreneur was beset with difficulties, constraints and obstacles, but also that there were opportunities that could be turned to account.

As means of improving this situation, participants emphasized the need to use appropriate means of communication to disseminate information on job-creation programmes, and the fact that it was essential for women and girls to sign up for them. They also emphasized the importance of:

Encouraging communication to enhance the visibility of women who created wealth and jobs,

Forging relationships with all institutions offering vocational training programmes,

Introducing entrepreneurship training programmes at universities and other institutions of higher education,

Promoting and organizing the transmission of women’s entrepreneurial skills from the older generation to the rising generation both in cities and in rural areas,

Enhancing the capabilities of associations (training of trainers),

Identifying gender-sensitive funding mechanisms in existing structures,

Enhancing coordination through institutions that have set up structures designed to impact women more effectively,

Enhancing the networking capabilities of NGOs,

Creating synergy among institutions, Parliament, NGOs, entrepreneurs and banks,

Establishing follow-up and evaluation mechanisms with a view to quantifying impacts on women entrepreneurs,

Lastly, creating synergy among actions launched within private firms and the various research departments.

National Strategy for the Promotion and Integration of Women

The Strategy was submitted to the Government Council on 29 July 2008. It is designed to consolidate the gains that have already been achieved by Algerian women in the fields of civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights.

1 – Successive stages in the preparation of the Strategy

In formulating this national strategy, a consultative approach was adopted, involving the various partners involved in this issue within a ministerial-level Committee on Women.

This committee includes representatives from ministries and State institutions and also from civil society and the media. Its primary mission is to analyse the status and situation of women in society, pinpoint any areas of inadequacy, and contribute to the task of determining outlooks with a view to identifying measures that will produce greater equity and equality.

On the basis of thematic studies and conferences held to date, and taking into account the reports prepared by various ministries, a comprehensive reference framework for the National Strategy has been put together. The strategic document was submitted on 20 and 21 May 2008 to the National Council on the Family and Women for discussion and enrichment.

2- The National Strategy: vision and aims

A/ Vision

In view of the tangible improvement in the status of women in Algeria today, thanks not only to political will to upgrade that status but also to striking progress in the work of promoting their rights, the State intends to continue its efforts in the fields of women’s education and training, women’s health and women’s employment, and in the political arena as well, endeavouring to achieve even greater progress. This is an unslackening drive to make gender equality a reality based on the principle of women’s empowerment .

B/ Aims

The strategy pursues a number of development objectives:

‑To ensure that by the end of the strategic plan, both men and women will be able to enjoy, throughout their lives, the benefits of development policies and programmes based on recognition of the fact that they have different needs, and hence the need for the empowerment of women;

‑To ensure that by the end of the strategic plan, a significant contribution will have been made to the promotion of an environment fostering sustainable development based on effective partnership between men and women, one in which they will join forces to reach decisions in matters of relevance for them.

3 – Priority actions

A number of actions are assigned priority under the Strategy:

Further action in the area of legislative reform;

Action to organize awareness and sensitization campaigns with a view to disseminating awareness of the provisions of law,

Efforts to promote incorporation of the values and principles of gender equality into education programmes,

Ongoing monitoring and assessment of literacy programmes,

Action to promote the integration of a gender approach in health and population policies, and action to step up implementation of the National Maternal Protection Programme in the health care delivery system,

Expansion of health care programmes, reproductive health programmes, programmes aimed at the treatment of sterility, cervical cancer and breast cancer, and programmes to combat violence against women,

Creation of an appropriate environment that will enable women to reconcile working life and family life (action to promote the opening of more infant day care facilities in the workplace),

Action to enable women to become aware of their rights and inform them of the provisions of law governing employment and the associated enforcement machinery, and action to develop means of providing support and guidance for girls who are eligible for microcredit,

Action to develop a culture of entrepreneurship, including in particular action to support and encourage women wishing to start their own businesses,

Action to open facilities and develop channels for the marketing of items produced by rural women and women working at home, and action to expand the legal framework governing the social safety net in order to enable these women to enjoy coverage,

Continued action to foster the empowerment of women and girls in situations of vulnerability, enable them to re-enter economic life, and give them access to microcredit facilities,

Action to form coalitions in the social and work environments, joining forces with social partners to promote awareness of the seriousness of violence and its negative impacts on individuals, families and society,

Redoubled efforts to implement awareness programmes aimed at changing stereotyped images of the roles of men and women in society and their responsibilities within the family in particular and in society in general, in cooperation with institutions, civil society and the media,

Action to encourage filmmakers, playwrights and other artists, whose works represent potent tools for changing habits of thought, to take greater interest in women’s issues,

Encouragement for girls to choose the information and communication sector in school and scientific institutes specializing in that field;

Action to make women full partners in decision-making and project management, develop network software and engineering, and other activities in the information and communication technology sector,

Action to focus closer media attention on women’s issues by producing special programmes with varied content while maintaining their regular radio and television broadcasting schedules, and also special pages in the print media,

Action to foster widespread Internet access in the context of Project “Ousratic”, buttress the work of local radio stations in the area of literacy and promote the status of women in the media, using a broad range of information and communication tools.

4 – Implementation measures:

Formulation of the national plan of action;

Preparation of a sectoral plan organized by activity area;

Establishment of a system for monitoring and assessing mechanisms and indicators.

Article 4: temporary special measures to accelerate de facto equality between men and women

The matter of temporary special measures to accelerate de facto equality between men and women has been discussed in the reply to recommendations 33-34 above.

Article 5: Action to combat stereotyped roles for men and women

(a) See the reply to recommendations 35 and 36.

(b) On 27 February 2005, Law No. 84-11 of 9 June 1894, the Family Code, was significantly amended along lines designed to make family relations and parental responsibilities more equal and balanced.

The amended articles of the Code are given below.

‑Article 3: “The family is based in its mode of life upon union, solidarity, mutual understanding, sound education, good morals and the elimination of social evils.”

‑Article 36: “The duties of both spouses are as follows:

- Paragraph 3: “Contributing jointly to preservation of the family’s interests, the protection of their children, and the provision of a sound education for them;”

- Paragraph 4: “Mutual agreement in the management of the family’s affairs, and the spacing of births.”

In the same context, the prospect of action to promote the protection of women and consolidate the family unit, with particular focus on the overriding interests of the children in particular, is to be found in the Code of Civil and Administrative Procedure of 25 February 2008, which provides for the establishment of a Family Affairs Section. The Section’s main attributes are outlined below.

‑ Article 432:The Family Affairs Section shall adjudicate, in particular, in the following types of cases:

Cases relating to engagements, marriage, return to the conjugal home, the termination of marriage and consequences thereof, in the cases and conditions specified in the Family Code;

Cases relating to financial support, custody and visiting rights;

Cases relating to proof of marriage and filiation;

Cases relating to kafala (Islamic form of adoption);

Cases relating to wardship and the lapse thereof, judicial prohibition, absence, disappearance and curatorship.”

‑ Article 424:  “The magistrate for family cases is expressly mandated to ensure that the interests of minors are protected.”

National Strategy on the Family:

Since September 2008, the Government has been engaged in a consultation process involving foreign as well as Algerian partners with a view to formulating a National Strategy on the Family. The aims of the proposed Strategy are:

‑To sustain the structural integrity of the family and strengthen social cohesion,

‑To integrate the family into the development process and associate it with planning and decision-making,

‑To develop policies favourable to the family and bring legislation and statutory instruments with a bearing on the family up to date.

The Strategy’s main lines of emphasis are structured around the following themes:

1 - Analysis of the structuring of the family and its component parts,

2 - The main functions of the family,

3 - Forms of support provided by the family,

4 - The cultural role played by the family in preserving identity and cultural values in the age of globalization,

5 - The family’s place and organization as contemplated in domestic legislation and statutory instruments,

6 - Family policy and its complementarity with sustainable development policy,

7 – The family’s essential needs and rights and its participation in political life (citizenship),

8 – The emigrant family and its relations with the country of origin,

9 – Social, health-related, environmental and safety challenges faced by the family.

Article 6:Measures aimed at suppressing all forms of traffic in women and exploitation of prostitution of women

Acts likely to promote trafficking in persons and related acts are offences under the Algerian Criminal Code. Such acts include prostitution and procuring (articles 342 to 349) and unlawful confinement (articles 291, 293 and 293 bis).

Under articles 342 to 349 of the Criminal Code, the offences of inciting minors to engage in immoral behaviour or corrupting minors under 19 years of age, aiding and abetting the prostitution of other persons or soliciting with a view to prostitution, and procuring are punishable by terms of imprisonment (heavier penalties are specified where the victim is a minor of either sex under 19 years of age).

As regards the matter of trafficking in persons in the literal sense, we may usefully recall at this point that Algeria has ratified the main international legal instruments dealing with that issue, the most recent of them being:

‑The United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, ratified, with reservations, by Presidential Decree No. 02-55 1422 of 5 February 2002;

‑The Protocol to that Convention to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, ratified, with reservations, by Presidential Decree No. 03-417 of 9 November 2003.

In the context of the process of bringing Algeria’s domestic law into line with these ratified legal instruments, Law No. 09-01 of 25 February 2009, an Act to amend and supplement the Criminal Code, provides for the introduction of 12 articles in a section 5 bis, entitled “Trafficking in Persons” (articles 303, para. 4 to 303 bis, para. 15). This Act was published in Official Gazette No. 15 of 2009.

Article 303 bis, para. 4: “Trafficking in persons shall mean the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of one or more persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or a position of vulnerability or the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person to begging, forced labour or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs.”

“Trafficking in persons shall be punishable by a term of imprisonment of three to ten years and a fine of 300,000 to 1,000,000 Algerian dinars. Where the trafficking concerns a person in a situation of vulnerability resulting from age, illness or physical or mental disability, whether apparent or known to the perpetrator, the penalty shall be a term of imprisonment of five to 15 years and a fine of 500,000 to 1,500,000 Algerian dinars.”

Article 303 bis, para. 5: “Trafficking in persons shall be punishable by a term of penal servitude of 10 to 20 years and a fine of 1,000,000 to 2,000,000 Algerian dinars where the offence is attended by at least one of the following circumstances:

‑where the perpetrator is the spouse, an ascendant, a descendant or the guardian of the victim, or where he has authority over the victim, or where the perpetrator is an official whose position has facilitated the commission of the offence,

‑where the offence is committed by more than one person,

‑where the offence is committed by a person carrying weapons or threatening to use them,

‑where the offence is committed by an organized criminal group or where it is transnational in nature.”

Article 303 bis, para. 6: “Every person found guilty of any of the offences defined in this section shall be ineligible for the extenuating circumstances contemplated in article 53 of this Act.”

Article 303 bis, para. 7: “Every individual found guilty of an offence under this section shall be sentenced to one or more of the additional penalties contemplated in article 9 of this Act.”

Article 303 bis, para. 8: “Every foreign national found guilty of an offence under this section shall be denied entry to Algeria under an order issued by the competent court, either permanently or for a term of not more than ten years.”

Article 303 bis, para. 9: “Every person who, before beginning to commit or attempt to commit an offence consisting of trafficking in persons, informs the administrative or judicial authorities thereof shall not be liable to the penalty provided for such offence.”

Article 303 bis, para. 10: “Every person, including every person bound by professional confidentiality, who has knowledge of the commission of an offence consisting of trafficking in persons and does not immediately inform the competent authorities thereof shall be liable to a term of imprisonment of one to five years and a fine of 100,000 Algerian dinars.”

Except in cases of offences committed against minors under 13 years of age, the provisions of the foregoing paragraph are not applicable to the perpetrator’s blood relatives, collaterals and relatives by affinity to the fourth degree inclusive.

Article 303 bis, para. 11: “Corporate entities shall be deemed criminally liable, under the conditions set forth in article 51 bis of this Act, for offences under this section and shall be liable to the penalties for which provision is made under article 18 bis of this Act.”

Article 303 bis, para. 12: “The victim’s consent shall be of no effect where the perpetrator makes use of one of the means set forth in article 303 bis, paragraph 1, of this Act.”

Article 303 bis, para. 13: “Attempting to commit any of the offences contemplated in this section shall incur the same penalties as actually committing that offence.”

Article 303 bis, para. 14: “Conviction for any of the offences contemplated in this section shall entail confiscation of the means used to commit the offence and unlawfully obtained assets, subject to the rights of third parties in good faith.”

It will be useful to note here that under article 28 of Law No. 09-02 of 25 February 2009, an Act to amend and supplement Ordinance No. 71-57 of 5 August 1971 on legal aid (published in Official Gazette No. 15 of 2009), victims of trafficking in persons, in particular, are automatically entitled to legal aid.

Furthermore, the Criminal Code has been amended to cover the issue of trafficking in persons in connection with the obligations binding upon our country as a result of its accession to the above-mentioned conventions and protocols.

The amendments in question affect three provisions of the Criminal Code (articles 349 bis, 349 bis, para.1 and 349 bis, para. 2). Under the amended provisions, acts constituting trafficking in persons, as defined in article 3 of the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, are now criminal offences.

These amendments adopt the same definition of trafficking in persons as set forth in the Protocols to the Convention, and treat the phenomenon as a criminal offence incurring a term of imprisonment of five to ten years and a fine of up to 2 million Algerian dinars. Where the victim is a minor, the Code prescribes heavier penalties of up to 15 years’ imprisonment and double the above-mentioned fine.

Article 7:Elimination of discrimination against women in the political and public life of the country

Some information on this issue has been provided in the reply to recommendations 33 and 34 above.

(A) Exercise of political and trade union rights

There are no provisions of law or regulations that prohibit or restrict participation by women in the political life of the country. The right to vote and to stand for office is available to women under the Constitution: article 50 states expressly, “Every citizen who meets the legal conditions has the right to vote and to stand for elective office.”

Ordinance No. 97-07 of 6 March 1997, the Electoral System Act, which sets the conditions governing the right to vote, makes no distinction between women and men. Law No.91-17 of 14 October 1991, an Act to amend and supplement Law No. 89-13 of 7 August 1989, the Electoral Code, repealed the provision relating to proxy voting.

A nation-wide survey has shown that nearly 60 per cent of Algerian women vote in person. Analysis of the results of the presidential election of April 2004 points to the conclusion that 46.49 per cent of the electorate are women. At that same election, 50.68 per cent of women voters cast their ballots, and the 18-to-20 age group accounted for 73.33 per cent of all women voters.

Changes to the right to vote by proxy

The option of a man’s being allowed to vote in place of his wife upon presentation of their family record book, which was a feature of the old Electoral Code, has been amended. That option is now hedged about with draconian restrictions. Under Ordinance No. 97-06 of 6 March 1997, the Electoral System Act, this option may be exercised only in the following cases:

Persons who are hospitalized or being cared for at home,

Chronically ill or disabled persons,

Workers whose jobs are outside their wilaya of residence and/or in transit, and those who are unable to leave their workplace on voting day,

Citizens who are temporarily abroad.

This option of voting by proxy is also available to women, who may vote in place of their husbands subject to the conditions listed above.

Political participation by women:

Despite the fact that the opening of the political arena has not been followed by a flood of women pouring in, it has helped promote the emergence of a minority political elite consisting of women.

With the advent of the multiparty system, the Algerian authorities issued the two statutory instruments summarized below in order to safeguard and give effect to the fundamental principles enshrined in the Constitution, with a view to providing a solid basis for the principles of equality.

Ordinance No. 97-07 of 6 March 1997, as amended and supplemented, the Electoral System Act, which enshrines a proportional system of voting at elections for various assemblies, thereby creating a fairer type of representation and ensuring, inter alia, the emergence of women to fill elective posts of responsibility in the political sphere.

Ordinance No. 97-08 of 6 March 1997, as amended and supplemented, the Political Parties Act, which has resulted in the consolidation and promotion of Algeria’s progress in democracy.

Participation by women in political life and their right to vote and to stand for elective office are safeguarded by the Constitution and codified by the above-mentioned Ordinance No. 97-07 of 6 March 1997 (see articles 5, 6 and 8 in particular).

Concerning the electoral system itself, the voting procedure for the various assemblies that Algeria has adopted is proportional representation. That system works in favour of adequate representation for women and provides an incentive for parties to seek to recruit women candidates to fill elective offices and play an active role in politics. Party lists are a central feature of the proportional system, and one that may be advantageous to representation by women, thereby reducing the under-representation of women in political life.

Studies have shown, however, that the impact of a voting system also depends on the political culture, which plays a decisive role.

The system of proportional representation ensures diversity in representation, and Algerian law makes no distinction between men and women as regards their right to vote and stand for election.

For that reason, Algerian women were represented in the first Constituent Assembly following independence in 1962, with ten women elected. Since that time, there has been an overall trend toward larger numbers of women parliamentarians, especially in the last three mandates, with women representatives accounting for 7.75 per cent of the members of the National People’s Assembly in 2007, up from 2.9 per cent in 1997.

Increasingly, moreover, women have been participating in elections by exercising their right to vote. At the presidential elections of April 2004, statistics showed that women voters had accounted for 46.49 per cent of all voters.

Another significant fact is that two of Algeria’s political parties are headed by women. One of these women has stood twice as a candidate for President of the Republic. In 2004 she attracted a substantial number of votes, while in 2009 she came second out of six candidates. Following his election, the new President, Mr. Abdulaziz Bouteflika, sent her a message of encouragement and congratulations on her highly respectable showing.

Inevitably, political will cannot, of itself, bring about the changes needed to promote the political role of women, given the dead weight of socio-cultural tradition. Accordingly, other actions have been taken in an effort to expedite the process of change somewhat. One such action has been the revision of the Constitution of 12 November 2008: the revised Constitution places additional emphasis on the political rights of women (see the reply to recommendations 37 and 38).

Similarly, awareness-raising, training, and action to involve political parties in the debate over women’s contribution to political life are strategic lines of emphasis in the process of encouraging that role. This theme was central to the International Forum of Women Parliamentarians organized by the Algerian Parliament in June 2006. That event created a space for dialogue, reflection and exchanges of experience between Algerian women parliamentarians and their counterparts from other countries.

In March 2007, Parliament organized another forum, this one on political participation by women, with the support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and the European Union, and with the participation of the President of the Forum of Rwandan Women Parliamentarians.

During this event, the representatives of political parties agreed unanimously about the need to promote greater representation by women, and they were pleased to describe the incentives that they had adopted, at their several levels, setting aside seats for women among the first five or three places. The Workers’ Party had led the way by placing 16 women at the head of its list, 13 of whom were currently sitting in the People’s National Assembly.

We may note here that other parties are also devoting substantial efforts to the task of promoting the political role of women by amending their by-laws so as to set aside a percentage of seats for women on their governing bodies at the national or local level.

Despite these efforts, however, numbers of successful women candidates at various elections remain far short of target levels.

At the legislative elections of 17 May 2007, there were a total of 12,225 candidates, including 11,207 men (91.67 per cent) and 1,018 women (8.33 per cent). Successful women candidates at these elections accounted for 7.46 per cent of all candidates elected (compared to 3.34 per cent in 1997).

Successful women candidates at the 2007 local elections, for their part, accounted for some 13.44 per cent of all candidates elected to Wilaya People’s Assemblies (compared to 6.98 per cent in 1997), and 0.74 per cent of all candidates elected to Communal People’s Assemblies (compared to 0.58 per cent in 1997).

An overview of participation by women at legislative and local elections between 1997 and 2007 will be found in the table below.

Election

Year

Number of women elected

(%)

National People’s Assembly

1997

13

3.34

2002

25

6.43

2007

29

7.46

Wilaya People’s Assemblies

1997

67

6.98

2002

115

11.98

2007

129

13.44

Communal People’s Assemblies

1997

80

0.58

2002

149

1.07

2007

103

0.74

Women candidates at elections for Wilaya People’s Assemblies accounted for 7.81 per cent of all candidates, and women candidates at elections for Communal People’s Assemblies accounted for 2.61 per cent of all candidates.

The electorate breaks down as follows:

‑2007 legislative elections: 18,760,400 voters, comprising 10,083,579 men and 8,676,821 women.

‑2007 local elections: 18,446,627 voters, comprising 9,880,121 men and 8,566,506 women.

These low rates are explainable primarily by the fact that women were underrepresented at the elections in question and secondarily by the practices adopted by the parties when preparing their lists of candidates. It is political parties that make decisions about balancing the representation of various groups on their lists, and they must bear responsibility for correcting the democratic deficit affecting women. Even so, women are frequently invited to stand as candidates to complete a party’s list, or to serve as alternates.

In order to promote the role of women in political life, the feminist movement is calling for the adoption of quotas at elections.

This concept is presented as being quintessentially modern, and is currently at the heart of the debate among the various stakeholders (political parties, civil society, and so on). Some political parties have tended to resist, arguing that the proportional representation system is a sufficient guarantee that women will be elected, and that it also guarantees diversity of representation in the various assemblies. According to these parties, individual competence and political commitment should determine the selection of candidates.

It is appropriate, none the less, to emphasize the highly positive role played by institutions in reopening the debate on the issue of women, and also the statements of political parties, which are full of good intentions in that connection.

Furthermore, Algeria has made genuine progress in the matter of girls’ school attendance, thereby creating a solid reservoir of skills which, taken in conjunction with economic openness and globalization, will undoubtedly enable women to invade various fields in the future.

(B) Participation in the formulation and implementation of Government policy

In the context of the world-wide process of the promotion of women’s rights and universal adoption of the principle of equality, a new trend has set in, featuring greater participation by women in decision-making and access by women to senior State positions.

Over the past decade, a new dynamic has been perceptible, as women have come to occupy operational posts involving responsibility.

Algerian women now occupy high-level posts in the State hierarchy, serving as ministers, ambassadors and presiding magistrates.

Specifically, there are three women in the Government, four women ambassadors, two of them serving abroad, one woman wali (Governor) and three women supernumerary walis, two women walis-delegate, one woman Secretary-General of a Ministry, five women Chiefs of Staff of Ministries, three women Secretaries-General of wilayas, three women Inspectors-General of wilayas, and eleven women heads of daïras (Subprefects).

A number of faculties of natural science and humanities, and the University of Science and Technology, are headed by women.

In the judiciary, the President of the Council of State is a woman, and there are two women presiding judges, seven women deputy presiding judges, 33 women presiding magistrates, 65 women examining magistrates, and out of a total of 3,582 magistrates, 36.82 per cent are women. In the Chancellery, out of a total staff of 15,653, women account for 54.82 per cent.

Similarly, at the Headquarters of the Ministry of the Interior and Local Authorities, women currently account for 36 per cent of all personnel, and of those, 31 per cent occupy senior posts.

Integration of women into State institutions

This is a dynamic process that is clearly perceptible, as women have been integrated into the various State organizations, including in particular the National People’s Army, the National Security Directorate, the Civil Protection Directorate, and the National Transmissions Directorate.

National Security Directorate:

The National Security Directorate has carried through a series of far-reaching reforms with a view to integrating larger numbers of female personnel.

Women are increasingly present in the various components of the National Security Directorate, with three Divisional Commissioners, 14 Senior Commissioners, 65 Commissioners, 539 Officers, 940 Police Inspectors, 29 police lance sergeants, 103 senior police investigators, 72 police sergeants, 115 police investigators, 4,638 peace officers and 4,058 other officers.

In all, women officers accounted for 12.34 per cent of the total strength of the National Security Directorate in 2007. It should be noted that 23.98 per cent of all women police officers work in administrative services, while 76.02 per cent of them work in operational units.

The National Security Directorate has undertaken various actions in line with the political choices supported and encouraged by the Algerian State, and in particular it has made significant efforts to promote the hiring of women employees, having regard to the principle of equal opportunity for persons of both sexes, especially with respect to recruitment, training and career management.

All applicants are subject to the same selection criteria and conditions of acceptance. If accepted, they are all required to take the same training course in a police academy.

Upon completing their training, they may go on to occupy posts of responsibility in all fields of specialization that fall within the scope of police work. Career management is governed by the same criteria, with no segregation of any kind.

In 2008, the personnel of the National Security Directorate included a total of 10,596 women, all services taken together, and 156 women of senior rank. Back in 1989, there were 933 women among the Directorate’s personnel.

Women currently occupy a number of posts of responsibility within the National Security Directorate, including Director of Studies, Deputy Director, Head of Security at daïra level, Head of Security within an urban administration, Head of Brigade, Head of Section, and so on. Women also perform other specific jobs, such as assistant bomb disposal officer, motorcyclist, radar operator, and the like.

At the present time, 1,171 new women recruits are taking training at the country’s various police academies, including 50 police officers, 148 police inspectors, and 973 peace officers.

Civil Protection Directorate:

Women’s involvement in civil protection has been realized through the integration and promotion of women personnel within administrative and operational structures. In 2008, the ranks of the Civil Protection Directorate included 923 women:

20 women of senior rank,

174 women officers,

53women non-commissioned officers,

239women civil protection officers.

Despite the specific duties of this institution, action has been initiated to transcend the psychological barriers and obstacles to the recruitment of women, especially at the level of emergency response units and other specialized units, including in particular posts as medical officers and non-commissioned officers assigned to various wilayas in accordance with their needs. Women are subject to the same rules of discipline and working rules as their male counterparts.

Since 1996, women have been progressively integrated into some structures of the Civil Protection Directorate pursuant to the regulations governing the Directorate, which were brought into force by, in particular, Executive Decree No. 91-274 of 10 August 1992.

In this context, the structure has enjoyed an influx of women applicants, despite some initial timidity. Over the years, the numbers of women physicians recruited and employed by the Directorate have grown exponentially.

The first class of women engineer officers graduated in 1996. Those women were appointed to posts of responsibility within the chain of command by which the Directorate is run. It is characterized by strict rules of discipline, inevitably so in the case of such a strongly hierarchical organization.

By way of illustration, two women have been promoted to Deputy Director posts, and 13 have been made unit chiefs and office chiefs.

National Transmissions Directorate

The integration of women within this extremely sensitive organization has gone forward, despite the technical aspect and the Directorate’s specific characteristics.

Equal opportunity for men and women, in terms of profiles and training in various areas of specialization, has become a reality, both on the operational side and in maintenance posts, at the central and local levels. The quantified data are shown below.

‑Women occupying senior positions: 26 per cent,

‑Nonspecialized women personnel: 70 per cent,

‑Women computer specialists whose duties include programming, maintenance, network management and operations: 54 per cent,

‑Women operational personnel: 11 per cent,

‑Women account for 16 per cent of the personnel of technical units.

These figures clearly illustrate the fact that the State’s recruiting policy is based on the principle of non-discrimination between men and women.

(C) Participation in non-governmental organizations and associations concerned with the public and political life of the country

The provisions of law governing political parties and NGOs and associations have led to the emergence of parties and NGOs that are active in all fields, including in particular the promotion of women’s rights, mothers’ and children’s health, and the protection of women in difficulty.

Article 8: Participation of women in international or regional meetings

Algerian women participate in regional or international events with no gender-based discrimination. Women are regularly designated to assist or serve as members of official delegations attending various international events.

Article 9: E limination of discrimination against women in the matter of the acquisition, change or retention of nationality

Changes in this area have been discussed in the reply to recommendations 24 and 25. They are summarized below.

Revision of the Nationality Code and the Family Code

Law No. 84-11 of 9 June 1984, the Family Code, as amended and supplemented by Ordinance No. 05-02 of 21 February 2005, introduced amendments aimed at eliminating various provisions that discriminated against women, including provisions relating to marriage, divorce, and the effects of divorce (custody, conjugal home, financial support, regulations governing guardianship).

Under Ordinance No. 70-86 of 15 December 1970, the Algerian Nationality Code, as amended and supplemented by Ordinance No. 05-01 of 21 February 2005, Algerian nationality can now be acquired through an Algerian mother (article 6).

Withdrawal of the reservation to article 9, paragraph 2

In view of this significant innovation in the Nationality Code concerning the acquisition of nationality through the mother, Algeria’s reservation to article 9, paragraph 2 had become irrelevant. Accordingly, the President of the Republic announced the withdrawal of the reservation on the occasion of International Women’s Day on 8 March 2008.

Article 10: Elimination of discrimination against women in the field of education

The AlgerianState guarantees the right to education for all children, without distinction based on race, colour, sex or any other grounds of any kind.

Furthermore, that right is guaranteed by the fundamental statutory instruments of the Republic, including in particular the Constitution and Law No. 08-04 of 23 February 2008, the National Education Act, articles 10-13 of which include provisions relating to equal access to education, compulsory education for all girls and boys between 6 and 12 years of age, equal conditions of access to education, and free education.

Algeria’s education system itself thus contributes substantially to the elimination of discrimination against women, as may be seen from the features outlined below.

‑Virtually all schools are coeducational;

‑There is no discrimination between girls and boys in all areas of school life, access to studies and the earning of diplomas in educational establishments, conditions of orientation, granting of scholarships and other forms of financial support for studies, compulsory participation in physical education and sports, and, last but not least, the right to take continuing education, including adult literacy programmes.

It should be noted that the State enforces these provisions, and parents or guardians who fail to comply with them are liable to penalties under the Act.

Moreover, the contents of the several subjects, especially civic and religious education, develop the concepts of tolerance, the right to be different, acceptance of others, non-violence, and the like.

As evidence of the principles and values enshrined in the above-mentioned fundamental statutory instruments of the Algerian State and the values inculcated by the country’s education system, the table below presents some statistical data and indicators illustrating the actual situation in Algerian schools.

I- Enrolment figures

Some indicators illustrating enrolment trends in the school system, by sex:

School year

Number of pupils enrolled

Number of girls enrolled

% girls

2000-2001

7 , 712 , 182

3 , 726 , 603

48 . 31

2006-2007

7,669,590

3,794,482

49.47

2007-2008

7,636,531

3,777,233

49.46

2008-2009

8,053,390

3,917,238

48.64

Total enrolment grew by 341,208 pupils between January 2000 and September 2008, while the number of girls enrolled grew by 190,635 over that period.

1 – Preschool education

Preschool education is designed to prepare children 5 and 6 years of age for primary school. Enrolment is growing, and girls account for approximately half the total, as will be seen from the table below.

School year

Number of pupils enrolled

Number of girls enrolled

% girls

2006-2007

111,596

55,550

49.78

2007-2008

134,161

65,660

48.94

2008-2009

433,110

201,612

46.54

The Algerian State is dedicated to the development of preschool education and is actively continuing to expand the system, in cooperation with public institutions, local governments and other bodies, NGOs, and the private sector.

2 – Primary education

School year

Number of pupils enrolled

Number of girls enrolled

% girls

2006-2007

4,078,954

1,926,560

47.23

2007-2008

3,931,874

1,860,190

47.31

2008-2009

3,249,000

1,537,883

47.33

The enrolment rate for 6-year-old children is currently in the vicinity of 98 per cent.

Annual growth in primary-school enrolment was 40,285, and of that total, 24,914 were girls.

– Intermediate education

At the intermediate level, girls account for approximately half of the in-school population, as will be seen from the table below.

School year

Number of pupils enrolled

Number of girls enrolled

% girls

2006-2007

2,443,177

1,216,025

49.77

2007-2008

2,595,748

1,280,541

49.33

2008-2009

3,365,000

1,538,096

45.70

3 Secondary education

In 2000-2001, students attending secondary school accounted for 12.65 per cent of the total number of children in the education system.

School year

Number of pupils enrolled

Number of girls enrolled

% girls

2000-2001

975 , 862

547 , 945

56 . 14

2006-2007

1,035,863

596,347

57.57

2007-2008

974,748

570,842

58.56

2008-2009

1,006,281

562,704

55.91

It is clear from the above figures that Algeria’s school system provides not only primary education but also intermediate and secondary education for both boys and girls in quite satisfactory proportions.

In basic education, the numbers of girls and boys are roughly equal. At the secondary level, girl pupils outnumber their male classmates.

This substantial growth in the school population has entailed significant expenditure, partly for school infrastructure and partly for the hiring of large numbers of teaching staff.

II – Teaching staff

School year

Number of teachers

Number of women teachers

% women teachers

2000-2001

327,284

154,507

47.20

2006-2007

349,821

185,354

52.99

2007-2008

314,958

190,674

60.54

2008-2009

362,782

267,917

73.85

Teacher numbers are constantly increasing in response to growth in the school population, which is also increasing year by year. In 2000-2001, Algeria had 154,507 teachers; the corresponding figure for 2008-2009 is 267,917, an increase of some 113,410.

III – School infrastructure

Substantial efforts have been devoted to the task of expanding the school network, especially in rural areas, with the aim of bringing schools and families as close together as possible and thereby encouraging parents to have their daughters educated. The table below illustrates growth in school infrastructure between 2006 and 2009.

School year

Primary

Intermediate

Secondary

Total

2000-2001

16,086

3,414

1,259

20,759

2006-2007

17,163

3,947

1,473

22,583

2007-2008

17,429

4,272

1,591

23,292

2008-2009

17,636

4,633

1,671

23,940

IV- Funding

Education has always been one of the Algerian State’s priorities: as long ago as the early 1960s, approximately 20 per cent of the national budget was earmarked for that purpose. In recent years, between 20 and 30 per cent of the budget has been spent on education.

In 2001, the budget allocation for education was 191,986,773,000 Algerian dinars. By 2009, that allocation had grown nearly threefold, to 374,276,936,000 dinars.

V – System performance

5.1- Results for end-of-cycle examinations

(a) Primary (5th year primary + 6th year basic)

School year

Grade 6 examination pass rate

Boys

Girls

2006-2007

79.40 %

2007-2008

5th year primary

6th year basic

83.47 %

80.39 %

(b) Intermediate, Intermediate School Leaving Certificate (ISLC)

School Year

ISLC examination pass rate

Boys

Girls

2006-2007

44 %

39.30 %

60.70 %

2007-2008

47 %

40.30 %

59.70 %

(c) Secondary (Secondary School Leaving Certificate)

It is clear from these figures that more girls than boys qualify for end-of-cycle examinations, all three levels (primary, intermediate and secondary) taken together.

5.2- Repeaters and dropouts

The most recent statistical survey conducted by the Ministry of National Education in 2008 shows that repetition rates for girls are lower than the corresponding rates for boys at all levels, as will be seen from the tables below.

School year

SSLC pass rate

Boys

Girls

2006-2007

53.29%

48%

62%

2007-2008

55.04%

49.89%

57.94%

5.3 – Repetition rates

(a) Primary

School year

Repetition rate (%)

Boys

Girls

2006-2007

10.76

13.16

8.05

2007-2008

7.52

9.16

5.66

( b) Intermediate

School year

Repetition rate (%)

Boys

Girls

2006-2007

9.50

13.39

5.45

2007-2008

22.72

28.11

17.28

(c) Secondary

School year

Repetition rate (%)

Boys

Girls

2006-2007

20.83

23.69

18.79

2007-2008

28.69

30.56

27.30

5.4 – Wastage

(a) Primary

School year

Dropout rate (%)

Boys

Girls

2006-2007

2.33

2.77

1.84

2007-2008

1.78

1.92

1.62

(b) Intermediate

School year

Dropout rate (%)

Boys

Girls

2006-2007

8.78

11.07

6.39

2007-2008

10.55

12.78

8.29

(c) Secondary 

School year

Dropout rate (%)

Boys

Girls

2006-2007

11.30

13.92

9.44

2007-2008

11.02

13.09

9.49

It is clear from these tables that repetition and dropout rates are relatively high. This situation is due to many factors of various kinds: economic, social, psychoeducational and others.

The Ministry of National Education is well aware of the seriousness of the problem, and accordingly has made the prevention of school wastage a high-priority issue. Since 2000-2001, urgent measures have also been taken to reduce the repetition rate in the hope of mitigating that phenomenon.

* Remedial instruction:

‑Introduction of weekly remedial instruction classes to enable pupils who are having difficulty to overcome their weaknesses, fill in gaps in their knowledge and make up lost ground;

‑Lighter course loads;

‑Reinforcement sessions, especially for pupils who will shortly be taking examinations, to enable them to enhance their academic performance.

* Teacher training:

‑Preparation of a national skills enhancement and upgrading plan for teachers, having due regard for the existence of a wide variety of valid approaches and avenues for progress (distance training, including the use of new technologies, practicums, sandwich courses).

‑n the upgrading plan, priority given to primary-school teachers with the most ground to make up.

‑Upgrading inspectors’ skills to enable them to provide teachers with more effective guidance and support.

5.5 - Action to encourage school attendance

Disadvantaged families are encouraged to send their children, both boys and girls, to school through a variety of incentive measures, including:

‑ Scholarships designed to help parents defray the cost of enrolling their children as boarders or day pupils.

‑Extension of meal facilities in primary schools; over 12,000 primary schools now have them.

School year

Number of pupils who eat meals at school

%

2006-2007

2,505,450

61

2007-2008

2,719,727

67.75

‑ School solidarity enables more than 3,384,207 pupils to obtain schoolbooks and supplies free of charge through direct assistance to pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds. By way of example, 2,333,000 pupils were provided with school kits in 2008-2009.

‑A special allowance known as a school attendance bonus was increased from 2000 to 3000 Algerian dinars for every child attending school (orphans, children with disabilities, children from families that have been victims of terrorism, and children from economically disadvantaged families).

school buses, of which there are currently 3,829, carrying more than 700,000 children to and from school.

5.6 – Day pupils and boarders:

Numbers of pupils attending school as day pupils or boarders are shown in the tables below.

* Intermediate level:

Day pupils

School year

Number of pupils

Girls

2006-2007

246,823

128,182

2007-2008

406,295

210,211

Boarders

School year

Number of pupils

Girls

2006-2007

25,472

11,977

2007-2008

34,905

17,002

* Secondary level:

Day pupils

School year

Number of pupils

Girls

2006-2007

135,169

82,010

2007-2008

219,106

132,094

Boarders

School year

Number of pupils

Girls

2006-2007

33,050

18,594

2007-2008

38,125

22,407

VI – Culture of peace, citizenship, and education for tolerance

The goal of the Algerian education system is to train tomorrow’s citizens, and to that end it provides education for citizenship, teaching pupils national and universal values in the various subjects taught, including history, Arabic and foreign languages, health education, environmental education, population education, civic education and religious education. The hope is that pupils will acquire healthy behaviour, positive attitudes and, in a word, self-management skills, beginning in the very first years of basic education.

VII – School health

Action to safeguard school children’s health, in an intersectoral context, has always been a concern for the Ministry of National Education and the Ministry of Health and Population. Those two ministries have joined forces to establish school health teams covering all Algerian schools and early detection and monitoring units, of which there are 1,114 nation-wide. These units, staffed by school health physicians, dental surgeons and psychologists, do their work directly at schools.

VIII - Literacy

A national literacy strategy for 2007-2016 has been launched by the State authorities in cooperation with NGOs in an effort to achieve a 50 per cent reduction in the numbers of illiterate Algerians, of whom there were an estimated 6.2 million in 2005. This objective is in line with the Millennium Development Goals adopted by the international community.

The operation targets all illiterate persons, but priority is being given to the 15-49 age group, with special focus on women and inhabitants of rural areas.

Change over time in illiteracy rates (10-and-over population)

Sex/Year

1998

2008

Male

23 . 6 %

15. 5 %

Female

40 . 2 %

28.9%

Total

31 . 9 %

22.1%

As will be seen from the above table, illiteracy rates have clearly been declining.

Article 11: Elimination of discrimination against women in the field of employment

Under the Constitution, all citizens are equal before the law, regardless of gender. Article 29 reads as follows: “All citizens are equal before the law. No discrimination shall prevail because of birth, race, sex, opinion or any other personal or social condition or circumstance.” This constitutional principle makes women full citizens in every respect.

The Government is constantly endeavouring to develop more effective means of learning about, enhancing and monitoring the family environment and the status of women, implementing international conventions, and enacting legislation designed to promote the socio-economic integration of women.

The Algerian authorities devote particular attention to the task of promoting the position of women in society, both as regards civil service employment and access to decision-making posts and as regards participation by women in economic investment.

1. Women in labour law

Algeria’s labour law follows the provisions of the Constitution in prohibiting all forms of gender-based discrimination.

Under the country’s labour law, the right to work and equal treatment are safeguarded for all workers, regardless of gender and age. Specifically, the law provides that all workers “shall be entitled to equal pay and benefits for the same work, where qualifications and performance are equal.” The law also includes specific protective measures for women, relating mainly to maternity and women’s role within the family unit. These measures are summarized below.

Night work is prohibited,

Women may not be required to work on a legal rest day,

Women may not be required to do work that is hazardous, unsanitary, or harmful to their health,

Maternity leave during the pre- and postnatal period, and entitlement to regulation nursing hours.

In addition, a woman worker is entitled to leave in order to enable her to follow her husband in the event of a change in his place of work, or to care for a child who is under five years or age or has a disability such that he or she requires constant care.

Las No. 90-11 of 21 April 1990, the Labour Relations Act, as amended and supplemented, enshrined equality between men and women in the field of employment. Under this Act, men and women are entitled to equal pay, where qualifications and performance are equal. The Act provides that the same fundamental rights are enjoyed by male and female workers, with no distinction of any kind.

Article 6 of the Act emphasizes the right to protection from any discrimination in the field of employment based on factors other than competence and merit. Conventional legislation of this kind is based on compliance with the provisions of the Constitution and international standards. It enshrines, in particular, the fundamental rights to which workers are entitled, such as the right of collective bargaining, social security, retirement benefits, workplace health, safety and medical care, rest, and the right to strike. A number of the relevant articles are reproduced below.

Article 17: “Every clause of a collective agreement or contract that provides for any type of discrimination in the workplace based on age, sex, social or marital situation, family ties, political convictions, or membership of a trade union shall be null, void and of no effect.” 

Article 28:  “Workers of either sex who are under 19 years of age shall not be employed for night work.”

Article 29:  “Employers shall not use women employees to perform night work, except pursuant to a special exemption granted by the labour inspector for the district, where the nature of the work and the job description are such as to justify the granting of such exemption.”

Article 55:  “During the prenatal and postnatal periods, women workers shall be entitled to maternity leave as prescribed under the regulations currently in force.”

Articles 142 and 143 provide penalties for discrimination: “Every person who contravenes the provisions of this Act concerning the legal work week, the workday, and the restrictions relating to overtime and night work for young persons and women shall be liable to a fine of not less than 500 and not more than 1000 Algerian dinars for every contravention, multiplied by the number of workers involved.”

Under article 11 of Law No. 88-07 of 28 January 1988, the Workplace Health, Safety and Medical Care Act, “In addition to the provisions of law currently in force, the employer shall ensure that women, minors and workers with disabilities shall not be assigned work requiring an effort that is beyond their strength.”

Lastly, we may note here that part-time work and work performed at home are legally organized through Executive Decrees No. 97-473 of 8 December 1997 on part-time work and No. 97-474 of 8 December 1997, establishing the specific regime governing employer-employee relations in the matter of work performed at home.

2. Women and the social security system

The social security system serves to protect all women. Women workers or dependants of a male worker are entitled to social security benefits. Algeria’s present social security system is not characterized by any form of gender-based discrimination. Women beneficiaries enjoy not only health care insurance and compensation for work accidents, but also specific protection measures relating mainly to maternity leave and retirement pensions.

Women workers are entitled to fourteen weeks of maternity leave with pay in the amount of 100 per cent of the beneficiary’s daily contributory earnings after deduction of contributions and income tax (Law No. 83-11 of 2 July 1983, the Social Insurance Act, as amended and supplemented), in the form of cash payments.

Women on maternity leave are also entitled to benefits in kind, consisting of full coverage of medical and pharmaceutical expenses and hospital expenses relating to delivery.

Women who are not themselves workers but whose husbands are covered by the social security system are also entitled to these maternity benefits in kind.

Furthermore, women are entitled, on the same basis as men, to disability insurance benefits if they are compelled to take time off from work because of disability. They are also entitled to death insurance.

Health insurance

Law No. 83-11 of 2 July 1983 as amended and supplemented, the Social Insurance Act, contains a chapter dealing with maternity insurance. That chapter comprises eight articles relating to maternity insurance benefits. The provisions of those articles spell out the benefits to which women workers are entitled, including both in-kind benefits and cash benefits.

Pensions

Law No. 83-12 of 2 July 1983 as amended and supplemented, the Retirement Benefits Act, includes provisions for retirement pensions (articles 6 and 6 bis). In order to be eligible for a retirement pension, a worker must be at least 60 years of age. However, a woman worker may apply for a pension at the age of 55. Under article 6 bis, paragraph 2, every employee who is at least 50 years of age and has worked for a length of time such that he or she has paid pension contributions covering a period of not less than 20 years may apply for a proportional retirement benefit. The requirements relating to age and years of service contemplated in the above-mentioned paragraph are reduced by five years for women employees.

Under new regulations that have been in force since 1997, women workers are also entitled to a proportional retirement benefit provided they are at least 45 years of age and have paid in pension contributions for not less than 15 years.

A woman worker may also retire and begin to draw a pension immediately at any time after having paid pension contributions for 32 years.

Pensions for other beneficiaries

Under articles 30 and 31, “other beneficiaries” are defined as  “The spouse, dependent children as defined in article 67 of Law No. 83-11 of 02 July 1983, the Social Insurance Act, dependent children and female dependent collaterals to the third degree who have no income, regardless of their ages.”

Lastly, under article 15, “In addition to the amount of his or her pension, the retired person shall be entitled to a supplement for a dependent spouse. Not more than one supplement for a dependent spouse shall be payable to any pensioner.”

Special provisions applicable to moudjahidates

Special provisions are applicable to moudjahidates (women veterans) and widows of chouhada (martyrs) under Law No. 83-12 of 2 July 1983, the Social Insurance Act (articles 20 to 29) and Law No. 91-01 of January 1991, the Widows of chouhada Retirement Act.

Family allowances and other benefits

Family allowances and school attendance bonuses are payable to every mother who is divorced or in the process of divorce and has custody of her children, and to every single women who is caring for a child under a kafala arrangement, regardless of whether she is gainfully employed.

Every widow of a social insurance beneficiary is entitled to a surviving spouse’s benefit, regardless of her age. Every daughter of a deceased social insurance beneficiary, if she has no income and is unmarried, is also entitled to a survivor’s benefit, regardless of her age.

These provisions take the characteristic features of Algerian society into account and ensure that women who are not gainfully employed will have some income.

Wage earners are entitled to family allowance benefits for their minor children. The amount of these benefits has recently been revised upward.

Every retired worker is also entitled to a pension supplement for a dependent spouse (Law No. 83-12 of 2 July 1983 as amended and supplement by an Order of 12 December 1999).

Plan of action to create jobs and reduce unemployment

The issue of job creation and unemployment reduction constitutes one of the main lines of emphasis of this programme, which is sponsored by the President of the Republic. Under the programme, 2,000,000 jobs, including 1,000,000 permanent jobs, are to be created by 2009.

Job market entry facilitation strategy

This strategy was launched in June 2008 as part of the job creation and unemployment reduction plan. Its objectives are outlined below.

‑Implementation of an economic approach to reducing unemployment and developing entrepreneurship as a means of promoting productive investment that will create wealth and jobs;

‑Adaptation of training profiles to job market needs, and development of a skilled labour force through occupational training for prospective job market entrants on the one hand, and, on the other hand, skills upgrading courses for persons who have lost their jobs with a view to enabling them to re-enter the job market;

‑Enhancement and consolidation of job market intermediation;

‑Modernization of support and guidance, follow-up, monitoring and evaluation mechanisms in the framework of the job promotion strategy;

‑Creation of 2,000,000 jobs as specified in the Presidential programme.

The new strategy, which adopts an economic approach, is designed to benefit both men and women, without discrimination. It features three types of contracts:

1/ Job market entry contracts for university graduates, which are aimed at ensuring that young graduates enjoy hiring priority;

2/ Vocational job market entry contracts for young job-seekers who have completed secondary school or a programme of studies at a vocational training centre;

3/ Training – job market entry contracts for job-seekers who have had no training and have no particular skills.

Article 12: Elimination of discrimination against women in the field of health care

1. Demographic change and main indicators

1.1. Structure by age and sex

Demographic change has been characterized by an exceptionally rapid demographic transition, as appears from a dramatic decline in fertility during the 1990s, the main determinants of which were the progressive adoption of contraception and a rising age at marriage. This situation reflects the far-reaching changes that have occurred in society as a whole and have also affected individual couples’ procreative behaviour, as national surveys have shown. The demographic transition has had significant repercussions on the age structure of Algeria’s population, as was revealed by the fourth General Population and Housing Census in 1998. The under-5 and under-20 age groups have come to account for a smaller proportion of the population as a whole, while there has been a corresponding increase in the working-age generations (20-59 age group), and a distinct trend toward aging is discernible, with a substantial increase in the numbers of the 60-and-over age group, which now accounts for a proportionately larger share of the total population. In view of the fact that women tend to live longer than men (their life expectancy exceeds that of men by two years), women 60 and over outnumber men in that age group.

1.2. Life expectancy at birth

Life expectancy at birth, which is a useful indicator of both health and development, has now risen beyond 75 years: it was 75.3 years in 2005, and 75.7 years in 2006 (at 74.6 years for men and 76.7 years for women). An average increase of over 23 years was thus achieved between 1970 and 2006; for women, the increase was 24 years.

Change in life expectancy at birth, by sex (1970-2006)

Year

Life expectancy at birth (years)

Men

Women

Men and women

1970

52.6

52.8

52.6

1980

55.9

58.8

57.4

1985

62.7

64.2

63.6

1996

66.8

68.4

67.7

2000

71.5

73.4

72.5

2006

74.6

76.7

75.7

2007

74.7

76. 8

75 . 7

1.3. Nuptiality

The general pattern of nuptiality has undergone far-reaching changes in recent years. Matrimonial behaviour was characterized by early marriage and high marriage intensity until the 1980s, but since that time mean age at first marriage has risen very significantly.

Age at first marriage is higher in urban areas, at 30 years for women and 34.2 years for men, but it has been rising in rural areas as well (by way of illustration, in 2006 it was 29.9 years for women and 33.5 years for men). Level of education does not affect the phenomenon, as it is observable among illiterate women to approximately the same extent as among women who have completed intermediate primary school or secondary school. Among women with a post-secondary education, however, mean age at first marriage was 33 in 2002, i.e. there was a gap of three years between women in that category and those who had had only primary or secondary education (29.3 years in the case of the former, 29.2 years in the case of the latter).

Change over time in mean age at first marriage, by sex

Sex

1948

1954

1966

1970

1977

1987

1998

2002

2006

Women

20.0

19.6

18.3

19.3

20.9

23.7

27.6

29.6

29.9

Men

25.8

25.2

23.8

24.4

25.3

27.7

31.3

33.0

33.5

1.4. Sociodemographic indicators

1.4.1. Illiteracy rates

(data from the Pap Fam survey, conducted in 2002, and MICS 3, conducted in 2006)

Sex

2002

Total (%)

2006

Total (%)

Area of residence

Area of residence

Urban (%)

Rural (%)

Urban (%)

Rural (%)

Male

13.5

24.6

18.2

12.4

21.8

16.5

Female

26.6

47.0

35.0

24.1

41.3

31.6

Total

20.1

35.7

26.5

18.2

31.5

24.0

In 2008, the illiteracy rate was estimated at 22.1% (15.5% for men and 28.9% for women. Data from the General Population and Housing Census, 2008).

2. Differential analysis of indicators

2.1. Fertility

The average number of children per woman fell from 7.8 in 1970 to 2.27 in 2006. Fertility thus declined by approximately 30 per cent between 1970 and 1986. The rate of decline was greatest, at approximately 50 per cent, between 1992 and 2006. Both urban and rural areas were affected, but the phenomenon was more pronounced in rural areas, where fertility declined by 54 per cent during that period.

Total fertility rate (1992-2006), by age

Age group

TFR (per 1000) [0-4 years before the survey]

EASME-92

EASF-02

MICSIII-06

15-19

21.0

6.0

4.4

20-24

143.0

59.0

51.3

25-29

243.0

119.0

111.1

30-34

214.0

134.0

129.2

35-39

220.0

105.0

108.9

40-44

164.0

43.0

44.7

45-49

92.0

9.0

2.3

TFR (number of children per woman)

4.4

2.4

2.27

Comparison of fertility levels with level of education reveals that the latter indicator is becoming progressively less discriminant. In that framework, the changes in TFR, as shown by the data for women in the various categories, are significant. The gap between illiterate women and women with secondary or post-secondary education, which was over three children per woman in 1992, had narrowed to only 1.4 children per woman by 2002.

Furthermore, the largest decline is observable in the case of illiterate women, with 2.7 fewer children per woman in 2002 than in 1992. The corresponding figure for women with secondary or post-secondary education is one fewer child per woman, for women with an intermediate-level education it is 1.3, and for women with a primary-school education, 1.1.

In this connection, the impact of information, education and communication campaigns, and also improved access to family planning services, has been particularly noteworthy.

2.2. Nuptiality

2.2.1. Education and area of residence

EASF-2002

MICS3-2006

Men

Women

Men

Women

Level of education

None

31.0

28.3

30.4

28.7

Primary

33.4

29.3

33.0

29.6

Intermediate

33.2

30.7

33.9

29.0

Secondary

35.5

33.2

33.8

29.6

Post-secondary

34.8

33.1

Area of residence

Urban

33.7

30.0

34.2

30.0

Rural

31.9

29.1

32.6

29.7

Total

33.0

29.6

33.5

29.9

2.2.2. Consanguinity

Consanguinity is a situation that reflects traditional matrimonial behaviour, and one that entails risks for reproductive health. It is a persistent phenomenon, involving as it does 22 per cent of Algerian women of reproductive age. There are no significant differences for different age groups: it characterizes not only the oldest generations but also young women, and its incidence is approximately the same in urban and rural areas. However, level of education seems to have a positive impact: consanguinity rates are highest for illiterate women (26.4 per cent) and lowest for women with a secondary or post-secondary education (9.4 per cent).

Women in the 15-49 age group, by blood relationship with husband ( EASF 2002)

Variables

Blood relationship with husband

With blood relationship

No blood relationship

First cousin

Other relationship

Age 15-19

Age 20-24

Age 25-29

Age 30-34

Age 35-39

Age 40-44

Age 45-49

24.1

22.1

21.8

24.2

21.4

20.4

21.8

15.0

10.2

12.0

10.5

11.8

10.9

11.8

61.0

67.7

65.7

65.3

66.8

68.6

66.3

Urban

Rural

20.2

24.4

10.6

12.3

69.0

63.3

Illiterate

Ability to read and/or write

Primary

Intermediate

Secondary and above

26.4

22.0

17.8

15.7

9.4

12.8

10.1

11.0

10.0

3.4

60.8

67.9

71.0

74.1

87.1

TOTAL

22.0

11.3

66.6

2.2.3. Early marriage and polygamy

Among women in the 15-49 age group, 0.8 per cent were under the age of 15 at the time of their marriage and 7.8 per cent were under the age of 18 (the legal age for marriage) at the time the survey was conducted.

Early marriage appears to be more frequent among women of older generations (21.1 per cent of women in the 45-49 age group), but it is relatively common among younger women as well, and thus may be said to be a persistent problem. Early marriage is a reality for all generations of women 20 years of age and above, with 1.8 per cent of women between the ages of 20 and 24 and 5.9 per cent of women between the ages of 30 and 34 having been married when they were very young.

Furthermore, 4.4 per cent of married women between the ages of 15 and 49 are married to polygamous husbands. The proportion increases regularly with age, from 1.9 per cent among young women 20 to 24 years of age to 6.1 per cent among women 45 to 49 years of age.

3. Access to health care

Pursuant to Executive Decree 07-140 of 19 May 2007, a new health card was introduced in the context of a reorganization of the health care delivery system. Public hospitals and general clinics became front-line health care delivery institutions under the terms of the decree. Algeria now has 257 such institutions.

The objective is to bring about a qualitative upgrading of basic care through the optimization of front-line health care delivery institutions as technical support centres, incorporating basic fields of specialization and creating conditions conducive to the establishment of a hierarchy of intervention levels.

The decree also made those institutions financially autonomous in order to ensure that financial resources for front-line health care delivery were more equitably distributed. This should make it possible to optimize health care delivery for mothers and children in particular.

Table: Health care coverage (2007)

Personnel

Number

Ratio/under-18 population

Ratio/total population

Physicians (specialists)

16285

1/1011

1/2081

Physicians (general practitioners)

24572

1/606

1/1373

Gynaecologists

1178

Pediatricians

1000

1/11664

1/32728

Pharmacists

7417

1/ 4571

Physicians (specialists and general practitioners)

44365

1/830

Dental surgeons

10621

1/ 3191

Total practitioners

62403

1/599

Paramedics

Paramedics who are midwives

99354

9000

1/130

1/ 341

1/1033*

* Estimated value of ratio midwives/women of reproductive age

Structure

Year (2007)

Beds

General hospital

240

35157

Maternity hospital

511

3450

University hospital

01

740

University hospital centre ( CHU )

13

12697

Specialized hospital

Specialized hospitals for mother and child care

54

18

9585

Total beds

61629

4. Health programmes

4.1 Mother and child health

Mother and child health has become a national priority in the area of health care. The legislative and regulatory basis here is Law 85-05 as amended and supplemented in 1990, the Health Promotion and Protection Act, some of the key provisions of which are listed below.

Measures for the protection of the health of mothers and children (arts. 67 to 75);

Measures for the protection of health in the school environment (arts. 77 to 82);

Protection measures for persons in difficulty (arts. 89 to 95);

Treatment of mental disorders (arts. 103 to 149);

Family planning, with the aim of promoting a harmonious family balance and preserving the lives and health of mothers and children.

Quantitative objectives in the context of upgraded mother and child health programmes are rooted in the overall framework of the health care delivery reform process.

Improved obstetrical care benefits are one anticipated outcome. To that end, a number of actions have been taken. These are summarized in the paragraphs below.

Allocation of additional financial resources to upgrade maternity hospitals, operationalize them as technical service centres, and turn them into state-of-the-art referral facilities within the hospital sector;

Projects featuring the construction of specialized hospitals for mother and child care to which obstetrician-gynaecologists will be assigned in accordance with human resource management plans;

Introduction of a Certificate of Specialized Studies in obstetrics and gynaecology which general practitioners will be encouraged to earn, as a means of improving health care delivery coverage in disadvantaged areas.

Strategies and programmes targeting children specifically are included in the overall framework of minimum development objectives to be achieved by 2015, in accordance with the provisions of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Greatest emphasis is being placed on maternal and perinatal health with a view to upgrading neonatal care, including high-risk pregnancy and delivery care, having particular regard to endogenous risk factors.

4.1.1 Perinatal health

The national perinatal care programme was launched in 2005, and has benefited from political support at the highest level, as witness the promulgation of an Executive Decree upgrading the organization and functioning of neonatal and perinatal health care delivery services (Executive Decree No. 05-435 of 10 November 2005).

This is a three-year programme (2006-2009) aimed at providing high-quality care for mothers and children and reducing neonatal risk levels. The objectives are a 30 per cent reduction in perinatal mortality and a 50 per cent reduction in maternal mortality. To that end, a number of actions have been taken. These are summarized below:

Prevention, early detection and effective treatment of the widely prevalent conditions of diabetes and hypertension during pregnancy. These outcomes are anticipated as a result of the introduction of specialized consultations with multidisciplinary medical teams and an early detection and reference system at grassroots level;

Action to upgrade obstetrical monitoring with a view to achieving a 30 per cent reduction in maternal deaths resulting from haemorrhage during complicated deliveries, which are the leading cause of maternal deaths;

Action to upgrade delivery rooms and rank neonatal care levels (general basic care, neonatal reanimation, intensive care), in accordance with the decree referred to above.

4.1.2 Infancy

There are 24 national prevention programmes in all, and eight of these target infants in particular, including infant girls: expanded vaccination programme, acute respiratory infections, diarrhoeal illnesses, acute rheumatic fevers, nutrition, household accidents, trachoma, and cerebrospinal meningitis.

The general objectives are to reduce the severe forms of these disorders, the complications to which they may give rise, and, above all, the mortality associated with them. In the case of the expanded vaccination programme, the main objectives are the eradication of poliomyelitis and the elimination of measles, diphtheria and neonatal tetanus. These objectives are based on the implementation of strategies specifically tailored for the various target diseases. Vaccination coverage, for all types of vaccines taken together, was 88 per cent in 2006 (MICS 3). The figure was 98 per cent for BCG and 96 per cent for DTCP

Change over time in infant mortality rates (per thousand live births)

2007

2006

1998

1987

1977

1970

Year

27.9

28.3

38.7

66.8

127.7

141.9

Boys

24.4

25.3

36.0

62.0

126.3

141.1

Girls

26.2

26.9

37.4

64.4

127.0

141.4

Both sexes

Infant mortality figures show that infant girls are at a distinct advantage, with a disparity between girls and boys of 3.5 years in 2007.

4.1.3 Maternal health

In 2007, the maternal mortality rate was estimated at 88.9 per 100,000 compared to 230 per 100,000 in 1989 and 117 per 100,000 in 1999. However, given the country’s potential, this rate is still unacceptable, especially in view of the fact that there are substantial disparities between different wilayas and different regions, a situation that reveals persistent inequalities in health care availability, with some regions being noticeably worse off than others.

However, there has been a noteworthy improvement in one particular aspect of women’s health care coverage, namely prenatal monitoring. This reflects the increasing prevalence of prenatal consultation, more widespread antitetanus vaccination of pregnant women, and the growing trend in favour of giving birth under medical supervision.

Health care coverage for women during the prenatal period

Rate (%)

1992

2002

2006

Prenatal monitoring

58

81

90. 4

Antitetanus vaccination

11

44

56. 8

Delivery under med. sup.

76

91.2

95.3

Maternal mortality rate

Indicator

1992

1999

2004

2007

Maternal mortality rate (per 100,000)

215.0

117.4

99.5 (est.)

88.9

1992 and 1999: survey data; 2004-2007: data estimated

4.2 Health of children and adolescents

4.2.1. Health in the school and university environment

In the context of a multisectoral approach, with input from associations and NGOs, services for children and adolescents are delivered through a network of 1,483 early detection and monitoring units and 100 preventive medicine units at universities. This network, which is designed to promote healthy behaviour among children and adolescents, has recently been reinforced by the opening of a youth centre in the capital.

The effectiveness of these units has been enhanced by the formation of multidisciplinary teams comprising, at the present time, 1,718 physicians, 1,503 dental surgeons, 415 psychologists and 2,091 paramedics, and training for trainers in the concepts of reproductive health.

4.2.2. Mental health

Mental disorders account for 6 per cent of all causes of disability. For the population as a whole, the incidence of mental disorders has been estimated at 0.5 per cent for both sexes taken together, 0.4 per cent for women and 0.6 per cent for men (EASF 2002). Disabilities affect 2.5 per cent of the population as a whole, 1.1 of women and 3.9 per cent of men (MICS 3 2006). According to the EASF survey, the figures are 2.34 per cent for the population as a whole, 1.09 per cent for women and 3.67 per cent for men. That same survey found that 6 per cent of all disabilities were related to psychiatric disorders.

A breakdown by age group reveals the important fact that it is mainly women over 60 years of age who are affected by disabilities (6.2 per cent for that age group, compared to 1.1 per cent for women between 20 and 59 years of age). For men in the 60-and-over age group, the incidence of disability exceeds the corresponding figure for women by a factor of more than three (19.8 per cent, compared to 6.2 per cent for women).

Algeria has acted on the international recommendations published by the WHO by developing a national mental health programme. That programme, which was introduced in 2001, emphasizes prevention and the establishment of means of rehabilitation, communication and mental health education. The programme was subsequently reinforced with a network of intermediate mental health centres. These centres, the first of which was opened in 2002, provide basic services and are designed to afford enhanced access to services and more effective medication management. Since the launch of the programme, preventive mental health services and care for persons at risk have been incorporated into the school and university health system, over and above the complementary work being done by associations and NGOs as well as other State agencies. Plans for the coming three-year period include more effective curative and preventive care through the integration of psychiatrists working in the private sector, who are relatively numerous (there are 160 private practices), larger-scale awareness and communication campaigns, and promotion of partnership and cooperation with other relevant sectors. A further objective is to realize an effective expansion of this care delivery system by providing services to drug addicts, working to that end in close cooperation with the Narcotics and Addiction Board and other departments and agencies. Fifty-three intermediate centres providing care for addicts and 15 regional detoxification centres are currently being established.

Algeria is a country with a low HIV/AIDS epidemiological profile, as it has a seroprevalence rate of the order of 0.1 per cent.

The first case was diagnosed in 1985, and since that time a total of 837 cases of full-blown AIDS and 2910 HIV-positive individuals had been confirmed by the national control laboratory as of 31 December 2007. A breakdown by sex shows 1,081 HIV-positive women and 273 women with full-blown AIDS, i.e. the ratio of men to women is 3 : 2.

Heterosexual transmission is predominant (45.29 per cent), and consequently women of reproductive age are increasingly being infected: they now account for one third of all cases. They and young persons, in fact, constitute exceptionally vulnerable population groups. Accordingly, action in this area is targeting prevention of transmission between mother and fœtus (1.82 per cent of all cases) at the time of delivery. Another priority target is risk prevention among young people in the context of reproductive health and school and university health programmes. Associations and NGOs are making a useful contribution to this effort.

A noteworthy innovation has been the opening of 54 free, anonymous early diagnosis centres in all the country’s wilayas.

The network of health care delivery institutions was considerably strengthened during the 1990s. One noteworthy development was the establishment of the National Blood Agency, which is mandated to ensure transfusion safety: analysis of all donated blood and blood products is now required throughout the country. Another innovation has been the establishment of six HIV/AIDS referral centres, which provide free antiretrovirals. Sectoral plans for the period 2007-2011 are structured around four main lines of emphasis: (a) prevention among vulnerable population groups, (b) care for persons living with HIV/AIDS, (c) community and NGO mobilization, and (d) action to promote knowledge of epidemiological trends through surveys on seroprevalence and behaviour.

4.3. Reproductive health

Since the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development, family planning as an aspect of reproductive health care has been firmly rooted within an overall framework of strategic reproductive health subprogrammes, buttressed by action to reinforce their institutional underpinnings. Noteworthy in this connection have been the establishment of the National RH/FP Committee in 1995 and the development of family planning centres in hospital maternity wards, as a result of which a substantially broader range of RH/FP services is now available.

Reproductive health is now an integral part of health policy, and it also constitute an essential component of population policy, which in turn is linked to development in view of the structural repercussions of the age pyramid resulting from Algeria’s exceptionally rapid demographic transition. The institutionalization of the National Population Council in 1998, following its establishment two years earlier, has contributed to the development of a multisectoral approach to issues of health, population and development, with participation by ministerial departments and NGOs.

4.3.1. Family planning

Knowledge of contraceptive methods

MICS 3, Algeria 2006

99.29992.98385.280.179.964.477.759.563.358.264.559.323.615.19.13.711.46.15.92.84.81.70102030405060708090100 Pill IUDExtended breastfeeding Rhythm methodCondom Tubal lligationInjectables Creams or jelliesImplants Male sterilizztionFemale Condom DiaphragmUrbanRural

Knowledge of modern contraceptive methods is very widespread among women of reproductive age, with 99.2 per cent being aware of the pill and 99 per cent being aware of the intrauterine device. These figures apply to both rural and urban women, with no significant disparities. Knowledge of all traditional and/or natural methods, such as breastfeeding and the rhythm method, is also widespread. However, comparatively few women are aware of new methods, such as implants and female condoms, and methods that are seldom or never used in Algeria, such as vasectomy, diaphragms and female condoms.

Contraceptive use has become fairly common at 61.4 per cent, with 52 per cent of users adopting modern methods. Contraception is now popular among couples regardless of sociocultural level or area of residence. Late in the 1980s there was a gap of 11 percentage points between urban and rural areas, but that gap has now been almost completely closed (it is down to 0.1 percentage point). Similarly, early in the 1990s there was a gap of over 10 percentage points between illiterate women and women with a secondary- or post-secondary education, but that gap has now narrowed to 2 percentage points (49.8 per cent compared to 51.2 per cent).

It is thus clear that today’s couples practise contraception as a matter of reproductive choice, and furthermore, that such factors as area of residence and education are no longer discriminant. These facts are unquestionable evidence of progress in human development, especially with respect to women, and the improvement that has occurred in people’s daily lives.

Change over time in contraceptive use (%) (national survey data)

Method

Year

1992

1995

2000

2002

2006

All methods

50.9

56.9

64.0

57. 0

61 . 4.

Modern methods

43.1

49.0

50.1

51.8

52.0

4.3.2. Early detection of cervical cancers

A national early cervical cancer detection programme was initiated in 2000 following adoption of a national strategy on the issue. The programme focuses on development of screening activities in basic RH/FP facilities through screener training, and incorporation of cytopathology units into family planning consultations. Early detection activities are now routine in all wilayas; 175 cytopathology units have been set up to date, and 295 screeners have completed their training and are working.

4.3.3 Infertility

Sterility problems are addressed both by means of prevention, with early detection and treatment of underlying infectious conditions, and treatment, with assisted reproduction techniques among others. This twofold approach is an integral part of reproductive health objectives and health policy generally, having regard to the right of all couples to procreate.

Sterility is a problem for 7 per cent of all couples of reproductive age, i.e. approximately 300,000 couples at the present time. Medical treatment of infertility and/or providing couples with advice are a routine aspect of front-line services and are also available in specialized hospitals. Medically assisted procreation has made substantial progress in the private sector: there are seven MAP centres that are currently operational and developing state-of-the-art techniques, while four more are in the accreditation process. In the public sector, three hospital-based MAP centres are expected to open shortly.

4.3.4. Violence

Violence, especially violence against women and children, is an integral part of the Government’s concerns in the health field.

Along with the inclusion of reproductive health as an integral part of the health care delivery system, targeting the various population groups, the prevention and treatment of violence has also been integrated into the array of services relating to reproductive health and mental health. This initiative gains additional force from the fact that it is being conducted in the context of a multisectoral approach comprising the education sector, youth, and NGOs.

Actions to date are summarized in the following paragraphs.

Expanded psychological support services for battered children and women and health care personnel training (formation of multidisciplinary early detection and monitoring units serving the school population) and the establishment of youth information and outreach centres throughout the country.

Introduction of a national further training course for general practitioners and midwives working at family planning centres. The educational objectives of the course include the integration of a gender dimension into reproductive health programmes and training in early detection and response techniques to enable participants to deal more effectively with battered women. Another medium-term goal is to enable the professionals who take the course to network with medical and legal and legal assistance services for battered women in cases where criminal prosecution is indicated.

Upgrading of the database on violence through nation-wide studies and a routine information system that has been established with a view to learning more about the problem and thereby be in a position to devise more effective strategic approaches. We may note at this point that national health surveys conducted in the context of the World Plan of Action on women and children (such as the EDG-2000 survey) included a module dealing with violence-related injuries (accidentally or intentionally inflicted) suffered by women and children. The most recent of these surveys, MICS 3, included a module on the “perception” of violence by women within the domestic setting. It is worth noting in this connection that 67.9 per cent of women respondents reported that they considered it “normal” for their husbands to beat them for one or another of the reasons referred to in the survey, usually having to do with the woman’s “reproductive function” and viewed as punishment for unsatisfactory management of her domestic and educational duties.

The 2002 EASF survey, which was conducted as part of a pan-Arab project, found that psychological and physical abuse was the cause of 7.4 per cent of disabilities among women and 5.9 per cent of disabilities among men.

A nation-wide survey (INSP) on violence was conducted under the auspices of a research group known as “Violence Against Women”. The survey’s findings, which incorporated other relevant ministries such as Justice, National Security and Interior, were highly useful for purposes of laying the groundwork for a national strategy for the prevention and elimination of violence.

Article 13: Elimination of discrimination against women in other areas of economic and social life

‑ (a) right to family allowance benefits: see reply under article 11 of the Convention.

‑ (b) right to take out bank loans, mortgages and other forms of credit: see reply under article 3 of the Convention.

Article 14: Elimination of discrimination against women in rural areas

Algeria has adopted an agricultural and rural renewal policy having as its main objective the revitalization of rural areas through sustainable development supported by more vigorous agricultural and agri-industrial growth, with greater input from institutional and economic stakeholders in rural areas and the farming sector. The policy is aimed at enhanced sustainable food security, which is viewed as a factor fostering greater social cohesion and national sovereignty.

This policy has been translated into practical form with the implementation of the programme for 2009-2014.

The rural renewal policy was launched in 2006 with the revitalization of rural areas as its main objective. Underlying the policy are issues of good governance, local democracy and sustainable development. Its implementation features the components outlined below.

Four federative themes:

Modernization of villages and k’sours: qualitative upgrading of living conditions in rural areas;

Diversification of economic activities in rural areas: upgrading of people’s income;

Preservation and development of natural resources;

Protection and development of the rural heritage, both material and non-material.

These federative themes are given practical expression in wilaya-based integrated rural development programmes. The programmes being implemented in all 48 of the country’s wilayas, taken together, constitute the National Integrated Rural Development Programme.

The Rural Renewal Support Programme, which is being implemented in three phases:

An initial pilot phase implemented in 2007. This phase featured a far-reaching campaign designed to promote an understanding of the policy, its objectives, and the means at its disposal. A communication and awareness programme was launched in collaboration with all local stakeholders, including rural women in particular, who are key players in socio-economic development at the local level;

A consolidation phase implemented in 2008. This phase was marked by reinforcement of the gains achieved in the initial phase by more intensive activities along the same lines aimed at enabling the various stakeholders, including women in particular, to join in the initiative. Women were enthusiastic about the programme, as was apparent from the fact that they flocked to join the Rural Renewal Support Programme and embarked on individual actions in the context of the wilaya-level integrated rural development programmes;

An extension phase implemented in 2009. During this phase, the awareness, outreach and appropriation process continued, bolstered essentially by the assumption of responsibility and commitment on the part of the stakeholders concerned, who mobilized all the resources at their disposal in pursuit of the objectives of agricultural economic renewal and rural renewal. In the course of this phase, performance contracts covering the period 2009-2014 were awarded for the implementation of projects aimed at agricultural economic renewal and rural renewal.

It is noteworthy that the objectives of the agricultural economic renewal and rural renewal programmes are designed with a view to bringing about improved socio-economic conditions for rural families.

It is well established that rural women play a key role as pillars of the social organization in which they live, and also that they occupy a preponderant position within their families. These renewal programmes provide them with the same opportunities and chances of taking advantage of the various activities to open up new prospects for employment and additional income.

1- Role of women in rural areas

Algeria’s rural population is estimated at 13.8 million people, 70 per cent of whom are under 30 years of age and 50 per cent of whom are women. Women are viewed as economic stakeholders of the first order; they contribute to the household economy by ensuring the family’s food security, and also by bringing in additional surpluses which can be sold locally and thus generate income for the benefit of the family.

Local-level integrated rural development projects, which are the cutting edge of the rural renewal policy, are designed to foster individual and community development in rural areas by promoting synergy and mutual assistance and support among different stakeholders and activities, and thereby upgrade rural households’ living conditions. Rural women are among the main beneficiaries of this approach.

2 - Participation by women in rural development and its benefits

The rural renewal policy does not discriminate between men and women in any way; it is based essentially on the principles of participatory action. It is implemented through local-level integrated rural development projects, which are initiatives designed for the community’s benefit and feature a bottom-up approach in which the project idea is translated into practical reality with the contribution of all concerned in a local forum where participants can listen to each other, decide on the way forward, concert their efforts and exchange ideas. These forums, which are expressly designed to promote such interaction, are known as rural community facilitation units, and 1,541 of the country’s villages now have them. They are broadly based, featuring local officials, men and women facilitators designated by the municipal authority, men and women leaders designated by project sponsors, development specialists, civil society, the local administration, NGOs and women project originators, and they constitute areas where stakeholders can join forces to initiate and formulate local-level integrated rural development projects with grassroots input from women project originators.

As of 1 April 2009, the situation stood as follows:

‑Number of local-level integrated rural development projects launched: 7, 042

‑Number of daïras with projects: 471

‑Number of rural municipalities with projects: 1,189

‑Number of villages with projects:4,694

‑Number of households involved:3,190,246

The list below will convey some idea of the range and variety of individual actions proposed by women who have originated local-level integrated rural development projects.

‑Small stock operations (beekeeping, poultry, rabbits, etc.),

‑Family farm operations (productive families)

‑Craft products (woven items, pottery, basketry, etc.),

‑Livestock acquisition (farm production unit),

‑Fruit and vegetable packing,

‑Agricultural product processing for family consumption.

In the context of the implementation of the rural renewal programme, one noteworthy feature has been the emergence of “productive families” in which rural women turn their work into a source of income for the benefit of the household.

In this framework, 10,000 farm production units were approved for investment for individual use in 2009. Many of these are beekeeping or rabbit- or sheep-raising operations that will generate income for the benefit of rural women.

(a) Participation in the elaboration and implementation of development planning at all levels

As a bottom-up, participatory initiative, local-level integrated rural development projects promote participation by women by encouraging the integration of women at every step in their implementation. In many cases, it is rural women themselves who come up with ideas for projects, and women leaders, outreach persons, facilitators, NGOs and civil society will provide them with guidance and support in translating those ideas into concrete projects, accompanying them every step of the way from the first germ of an idea to final project execution, follow-up, evaluation and closure.

Every rural woman who originates a project will take a training course designed to upgrade her skills and capabilities relating to her particular project, whatever it may be.

(b) Access to adequate health care facilities, including information, counselling and services in family planning services

The State has devoted a substantial effort to the task of providing inhabitants of rural areas, including women in particular, with access to health care facilities. Village health care centres have been the vehicle selected for this purpose. Front-line outreach and facilitation programmes on the themes of reproductive health, family planning and environmental protection have been implemented by NGOs and civil society, working in close cooperation with the ministerial agencies concerned.

In this framework, caravans have travelled the length and breadth of the country, with particular emphasis on the most remote, disadvantaged rural areas, for the purpose of presenting, explaining and promoting social security programmes and programmes aimed at integrating reproductive health, sexual health and family planning activities into agriculture and rural development programmes.

(c) Direct social security programme benefits

The Algerian social security system is a uniform one with rules and regulation that do not distinguish between men and women. That is to say, it provides social coverage for the entire population (insured persons and dependants). See the reply under article 11 of the Convention.

Farmers (both men and women) are entitled to social insurance coverage under “CASNOS”, the national fund for self-employed persons.

(d) Access to all types of training and education, formal and non-formal, including that relating to functional literacy, as well as, inter alia, the benefits of all community and extension services, in order to increase their technical proficiency

School enrolment rates have progressed substantially, especially in rural areas, owing to the construction of more schools, bringing pupils closer to schools and thereby making it easier for them, particularly girls, to attend.

The national literacy strategy launched in 2007 has made it feasible to reach the rural illiterate population. An estimated 42 per cent of all residents of rural areas are illiterate, double the corresponding figure for urban areas, which is 21 per cent.

Far-reaching literacy programmes targeting rural women have been launched as a component of adapted training and/or skills upgrading programmes. Knowledge transfer, know-how and self-management skills courses have been organized for the benefit of outreach persons, both men and women, who provide farmers and residents of rural areas with support and guidance.

Literacy courses for rural women are also offered by NGOs, often using State-owned premises such as schools, youth centres, cultural centres and mosques, or premises made available by civil society organizations and associations.

NGOs have been highly useful in providing assistance and support for the National Literacy and Adult Education Board, which is an arm of the Ministry of National Education with responsibility for implementing the National Literacy Strategy. Thanks to them, it has been feasible to identify disadvantaged population groups in need of literacy training, including women in particular, and target them more effectively.

It is noteworthy that according to the most recent statistics, 85 per cent of all women with their own businesses have had no education. This illiteracy rate is concentrated in the 60-to-70 age group.

On the other hand, 385 women with their own businesses, i.e. 0.92 per cent of the total, have had higher education, and 1.66 per cent of women in that category have qualifications as technicians or technical assistants.

Outreach

Expressly for the benefit of rural women, over 1,500 outreach persons, also women, have taken specific training programmes designed to give them additional insight into the rural environment and enable them to approach rural residents, especially women and girls, and provide them with support and guidance more effectively.

A wide variety of themes are addressed in these programmes, which are by no means confined to the issue of agricultural development (agriculture is the basic economic activity in rural areas). These themes include:

Family planning,

Reproductive health,

Environmental protection,

Hygiene and nutrition,

Local development,

Good governance.

In addition to the themes listed above, other subjects covered in the programmes include:

Methods of approaching rural people,

Tools available for the rural renewal policy, including in particular local-level integrated rural development projects,

Microcredit facilities,

Communication and rural animation,

Sustainable development parameters and indicators,

Regional strategies and local development,

Project cycle management,

The accelerated participatory research method,

Self-empowerment for women,

Group facilitation techniques.

The National Agricultural Extension Institute, for its part, has had a Rural Women Unit since its inception. The Unit’s programme of activities focuses on training and skills upgrading for women extension leaders assigned to local units within agricultural services directorates, wilaya-level Chambers of Agriculture, the Office of the High Commissioner for Steppe Development, and the Forest Conservation Service.

These are veterinarians, State-qualified agricultural engineers, forest engineers, senior technicians and agricultural technicians.

Moreover, local offices of the Forestry Directorate also have Rural Women Units. These are organized as focus groups mandated primarily to work closely with rural women in the context of implementation of the rural renewal programme.

A core group of 750 women trainers specializing in the above themes, distributed over 48 wilayas, have received periodic support from the relevant sectoral institutions in the form of three training workshops yearly since 2001.

Training:

In addition, detached training and occupational education sections have been established in rural communities for the purpose of providing training for girls and women with a view to their socio-economic advancement.

These sections are housed in premises placed at their disposal, temporarily or permanently, by local authorities and NGOs.

Since the establishment of these detached sections, 54,219 girls in rural areas received training between 1998 and 2006, including 10,934 girls in 2006 alone.

Furthermore, agreements relating to training for rural women have been signed with associations and organizations working for the promotion of women in rural areas, such as the Algerian Red Cross, the IQRAA Association, the National Association for Women and Rural Development, and the Algerian Women’s Association.

(e) Organization of self-help groups and co-operatives in order to obtain equal access to economic opportunities through employment or self-employment

Gender-disaggregated results of a nation-wide survey on the agricultural labour force for the 2006-2007 crop year show 2,220,116 workers employed on 1,106,631 farm operations, including 93,143 soilless operations, on a usable farm area of 8,434,786 hectares.

The labour force of 2,220,116 workers was broken down as follows:

‑976,012 farm operators, i.e. 44 per cent of the total, including 46.043 women farm operators (4.7 per cent);

‑466,156 joint operators (21 per cent) including 32.585 women joint operators (7 per cent);

‑363,586 permanently employed workers, i.e. 16.4 per cent of the total, including 19,058 women (5.24 per cent of all permanently employed workers).

There were thus a total of 1,805,754 permanently employed workers and farm operators (81.34 per cent of the total), and of these, 97.686 were women (5.41 per cent of all persons in that category).

The statistics show that 51 per cent of women farm operators were over 60 years of age, and of these, 48 per cent were 70 or over. The statistics also show that 2.1 per cent of women farm operators were under 30 years of age.

Agriculture-related Government structures are an important source of employment. Gender-disaggregated statistics show that as of 31 December 2007, public institutions and agencies providing guidance and support for persons engaged in farm production employed 61,675 individuals on a permanent basis, including 10,517 women (17 per cent of the total).

A breakdown by type of institution is shown below.

‑ Administrative support personnel:20,726, including 5, 20 women(24.7 per cent)

‑ Economic support personnel:9, 678, including 1,391 women(14.3 per cent)

‑ Technical support personnel: 6,312, including 1,626 women(25.7 per cent)

‑ Contribution Management Corporations:24, 959, including 2, 80 women(9.5 per cent)

‑ Total: 61,675, including 10,517 women(17per cent).

(f) Participation in all community activities

Algeria’s rural women, who account for over 40 per cent of all the country’s women, constitute a productive force that contributes to community development through a wide range of activities, including:

Small stock production (poultry, turkeys, rabbits, beekeeping),

Dairy production,

Vegetable gardens,

Harvesting and packing fruits and vegetables,

Harvesting, pressing, storing and distributing olive oil,

Flower production.

Another form of activity is farm product processing for various purposes, including:

Feeding their families,

Building up stocks of food,

Manufacturing craft items (weaving carpets and blankets, basketwork, pottery).

Alongside these farm women, we may note that rural women are also active in launching and managing small farm operations. There are also women who operate beef and dairy farms.

Most rural women work on small or mid-sized operations. They also engage in craft activities, although seldom pocketing the income generated by the sale of the products they make, and are frequently associated with the management and marketing of those products.

The Office of the High Commissioner for Steppe Development, for its part, routinely includes in its annual programme developmental and promotional activities aimed at rural women who live in steppe regions. Some of those activities are listed below:

vegetable seeds: 1,848 recipients in 181 communities; 3,786.88 kg distributed;

‑orchard culture: 353 recipients in 69 communities; 20,614 units distributed;

‑beekeeping: 469recipients in 70 communities; 1,000 units distributed; 

‑rabbit production: 229 recipient in 55 communities; 229 units distributed.

In all, 2,899 women participated in these projects.

Role played by NGOs

The Ministry of Agriculture has sought to encourage the emergence of rural farm women’s associations, and to that end has organized information and awareness programmes and has established machinery and procedures to deliver them (such as rural women’s units, focus groups and local action groups) with a view to facilitating organizing work and meetings.

The implementation of the rural renewal policy has made it necessary to enlist NGOs involved with the National Sustainable Rural Development Strategy which are active in rural areas, including in particular NGOs spearheading what is known as the Promotion of Rural Women and Young Persons initiative. Nearly 4,000 local NGOs have been identified to date.

Thirteen of these NGOs, all of them active nation-wide, have sent members to take training courses given by national and international experts in the field of rural renewal policy tools. The objective was to train trainers who would subsequently be able to provide members of local NGOs with the training in their turn.

This training is one component of the Human Capacity and Technical Assistance Upgrading Programme covering the period 2008-2010.

(g) Access to agricultural credit and loans, marketing facilities, appropriate technology and equal treatment in land and agrarian reform as well as in land resettlement schemes

Ever since the National Agricultural and Rural Development Plan was launched in the year 2000, funding and credit facilities have been made available to men and women farm operators on the same terms.

Support is provided for all areas of agricultural activity. The capital investments that the Plan has made possible have been aimed at upgrading farm production and thereby achieving better living conditions for rural families.

As of 28 February 2009, a total of 35,920 women had officially become recognized farm operators by obtaining their farm producer’s card, while 766,157 men had done the same, for a total of 802,077 recognized farm operators in all. A farm operator must have his or her producer’s card in order to have access to the various sources of funding, including State grants and credit facilities in particular.

These grants are provided through a number of vehicles:

1 – The National Agricultural Investment Development Fund, which operates under Executive Decree No. 05-413 of 25 October 2005, setting the terms and conditions governing the operation of appropriation account No. 302-067 entitled “National Agricultural Investment Development Fund”. Out of 353,331 projects in all, 264,000 farm operators, including 6,112 women, had received a total of 3,690,863,946 Algerian dinars in funding as of 30 September 2008. The grants went to support a wide variety of activities, including beekeeping, orchard culture, forage crops, poultry keeping, irrigation (equipment and sprinkling kits), regeneration pruning of olive trees, etc.

2 – The Land Allotment Productivity and Rural Development Fund, which operates under Executive Decree No. 03-145 of 29 March 2003, setting the terms and conditions governing the operation of appropriation account No. 302-111 entitled “Land Allotment Productivity and Rural Development Fund”.

A total of 22,640 working farms (representing 2.04 per cent of all Algerian farms) have been created under the Land Allotment Productivity Plan. In the context of this programme, 152 projects in some thirty wilayas have enabled 794 women to obtain access to land.

Under the same fund, a programme aimed at developing 10,000 family livestock operations was launched during the 2008-2009 farm year. Most grants under the programme were made to rural women who had submitted projects for various animal production operations, including cattle, sheep, goats, bees and rabbits.

3 – The Desertification Control and Steppe Pastoralism Development Fund, which operates under Executive Decree No. 0-2-248 of 23 July 2002, setting the terms and conditions governing the operation of appropriation account No. 302-109 entitled “Desertification Control and Steppe Pastoralism Development Fund”. Algeria’s pre-Saharan steppe regions, which are characterized by agropastoral activity, cover 24 wilayas with 440 villages. More than 800 projects involving approximately 147,919 families have been funded in these regions, and women have been full partners throughout, obtaining support for such activities as small stock production, rabbit production, beekeeping and poultry production.

4 – An interest-free loan scheme that was launched by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development in August 2006. Women farmers are eligible, on the same footing as men, for one-year loans with a possible six-month extension.

This is a seasonal credit with a term of eighteen months, and it is designed to support rural families in their agricultural and related activities.

A number of women have become landowners under a farmland ownership productivity enhancement programme. As of the first quarter of 2008, a total of 101,838 individuals had been helped to acquire land under this programme in the wilayas of M’sila, Relizane, Tindouf, Tamanrasset, Naama, Béchar, Khenchela, Médéa, Laghouat, Djelfa, Tebessa and Oum El Bouaghi. Of these, 3,550 were women who had acquired title to 14,498.87 hectares of land.

Land reform

The State has carried through a number of land reform initiatives, and none of them has distinguished between men and women: all of them have expressly formulated the principle of gender equality in the matter of access to land ownership and other related benefits.

Those principles are enshrined in the provisions of the legislation currently in force, including in particular the statutory instruments listed below.

Law No. 83-18 of 13 August 1983, the Agricultural Land Ownership Act;

Law No. 87-19 of 8 December 1987, an Act to determine the terms and conditions governing the use of State-owned agricultural land and establishing the rights and duties of producers;

Law No. 90-25 of 18 November 1990 as amended and supplemented, the Land Policy Act.

The most recent land reform was implemented pursuant to Law No. 08-16 of 3 August 2008, the Agricultural Land Policy Act, the provisions of which make no distinction between men and women. The objectives of the Act include the enhancement of rural residents’ living standards through policies designed to foster more dynamic rural economic conditions.

(h) Adequate living conditions, particularly in relation to housing, sanitation, electricity and water supply, transport and communications

Local-level integrated rural development projects are a tool designed to promote grassroots integration, and as such they include a variety of means for providing rural families with adequate living standards and improving socio-economic conditions in rural areas.

The State undertakes capital works for collective use where required in the context of local-level integrated rural development projects (roads, rural housing, water supply, health centres, schools, youth hostels, rural electrification and the like).

The most important of these works are outlined below.

‑ Rural housing: Local-level integrated rural development projects now qualify for assistance for rural housing. National Housing Fund loans have been made available to rural families that meet eligibility criteria and procedural requirements. During the period 2005-2009, 296,801 housing units were scheduled; of these, 15,903 have been completed, 163,894 are currently under construction, and 117,004 have not yet been started.

‑ Rural electrification:In practical terms, 97 per cent of all rural areas now have electric power.

‑ Water supply: Rural residents now have improved access to drinking water, thanks to the extension of water supply systems, accompanied by major capital works such as dams and interties.

‑ Access:An extensive access programme has been implemented, primarily in rural areas. Under the Rural Renewal Programme, many roads and tracks have been designed and opened for use.

Communications:Thanks to local radio stations and the availability of Internet service throughout the country, information is more accessible then ever. Other communication facilities have also been developed, as we have seen earlier in this report.

Telecentres have been established in towns as communication and information exchange tools, even in the most remote areas.

In addition, a computerized web-based rural renewal support programme covering all wilayas has been set up as an effective tool for real-time monitoring and assessment of local-level integrated rural development projects, from the formulation stage right through to implementation and closure.

Constraints facing rural women

Despite the Algerian State’s best efforts and its political determination to improve living conditions in rural areas, there are a number of constraints facing rural women as they pursue their various activities. These are summarized below.

1- Some of the constraints facing rural women are the same as those facing male farmers, including:

‑very high input and production facility costs;

‑inadequate extension and training services.

2- At the same time, there are other problems that are specific to women. These include:

Long working days:Farm work and domestic activities add up to 12-hour days;

Access to medical care and improved health service coverage: Health care infrastructure and facilities are still a problem for all rural residents, with certain aspects that affect women in particular, such as maternity establishments in villages and ambulance service in douars (Bedouin camps or settlements) so that emergency cases can be evacuated;

Difficulties relating to access to credit and funding: These issues are related to the fact that it is difficult for women to become eligible for bank loans, as they seldom meet the security requirements.

Ignorance of their rights because of illiteracy:Illiteracy rates are very high among women over 40 years of age. Women under 30, on the other hand, tend to be much better educated, with secondary, post-secondary or technical qualifications; however, the dropout phenomenon is still a problem;

I solation and inaccessibility: Access roads to villages or mechtas (villages of settled Bedouins) are often nonexistent or impassable, and this tends to make it difficult for girls, in particular, to attend school; they frequently stop attending once they reach the age of 12.

Difficulty in marketing their products: There may be no convenient outlet or local market, or the women may not be aware of it, as their products are frequently sold through middlemen.

The problem of drinking water supply: Owing to the fact that drinking water is not available in some villages, rural women must obtain their supplies from natural springs, which may be located quite far away from the family home in some instances.

Lack of access to information and new information technologies: Although there are a number of national programmes covering various sectors, the fact remains that in rural areas, those programmes have not reached some people, including in particular inhabitants of remote or isolated settlements, who do not have access to information and consequently are unaware of development opportunities and their economic and social rights, such as State grants, social protection and legislation governing domestic work.

Article 15: Elimination of discrimination against women before the law

See the reply to recommendations 27-28.

Concerning paragraph 4 of that article, which deals with the right to the free movement of persons and their free choice of residence and domicile, see the reply to recommendations 23-24.

In this connection, we may note that every unmarried woman who is of age is entirely free to choose her domicile or residence. There are no provisions of law to prevent her from doing so; her freedom in the matter is enshrined in the Constitution (the principle of freedom of movement within the national territory). In the case of a married woman, the applicable principle is cohabitation, but it may be modulated by agreement between the husband and wife.

Social and economic change has prevented many a married couple from cohabiting, owing to the fact that the husband’s place of work is far from the family home, but this need not by any means prevent the couple from living in harmony.

Article 16: Elimination of discrimination against women in all matters relating to marriage and family relations

See the reply to recommendations 25-26.

Concerning subparagraph (e), on access to information relating to the number and spacing of births, see the reply to article 12 of the Convention.