The following information reports U.S. Government priorities and activities of the U.S. mission in Algeria to promote democracy and human rights. For background on Algeria's human rights conditions, please see the 2009 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices
and the International Religious Freedom Reports
Part 1: U.S. Government Democracy Objectives
The U.S. Government's human rights and democracy priority in the country is to assist in strengthening key government institutions and democratic values throughout society. The country is a major U.S. partner in combating extremism and terrorist networks such as al-Qa'ida and one of our largest trading partners in the Arab world. The country faces significant challenges in modernizing its political system, completing its transition to a market economy, and addressing the needs of a growing young population.
To help meet these challenges, the United States focuses specifically on strengthening the country's government institutions and civil society organizations. Technical assistance aims to improve the capacity of legislative and judicial institutions and to promote the rule of law. Through small grants the U.S. Government supports NGOs working in a number of sectors including human rights, health care, and women's entrepreneurship. Other programs address youth and education reform, strengthening legislative institutions, combating trafficking in persons, and increasing women's roles in society and politics.
Part 2: Supporting Top Priorities and Other Aspects of Human
Rights and Democratic Governance
To strengthen the legislative process, the U.S. Government provides training to members of national and regional legislatures on budgetary processes, drafting legislation, information technology, and constituent and media relations. The training program provides parliamentarians new perspectives on oversight and government accountability to citizens. The U.S. Government funds U.S. experts to partner with the parliamentary training institute, sponsors seminars by expert speakers, and sends members of parliament to the United States to study U.S. legislative practices. To assist the country's efforts to modernize its legal framework and promote greater judicial independence, the U.S. Government supports programs to train judges, prosecutors, and lawyers. The April signing of a Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty with Algeria created a framework for increased cooperation with judicial and law enforcement institutions. The U.S. Government seeks to promote the rule of law and to increase the capacity of the country's criminal justice system through specialized investigative skills training for judges and prosecutors to combat transnational crimes (including terrorism), organized crime, and trafficking in persons. Another U.S.-funded program provides legal skills training to lawyers and regional bar associations. U.S. officials also engage the government bilaterally to raise concerns about restrictions on freedom of religion, including that of religious minorities.
The U.S. Government utilizes public diplomacy resources to support the development of young civic and political leaders through English language education, exchange programs that expose local students to democratic principles and values, and civic education programs. The U.S. Government funds English language programs for at-risk youth and an Internet-based mathematics curriculum for third-grade classrooms. Public diplomacy efforts also establish partnerships between Algerian and American universities. The U.S. Government sponsors local leaders to visit the United States to study subjects such as democracy, press freedom, and women's rights.
The U.S. Government also conducts outreach and programmatic activities to support civil society and freedom of the press. U.S. officials hold frequent meetings with civil society organizations representing labor unions, persons with disabilities, journalists, human rights advocates, and religious and women's groups, as well as representatives of the country's religious minorities, to discuss human rights issues and disseminate information on programming opportunities. An ongoing program provides business training to independent newspapers to make them more financially stable and qualified to participate in political discussion. The U.S. Government assists some NGOs through small grants. One grant helps a small NGO near the capital develop training materials and launch advocacy campaigns concerning women's rights and youth issues. Another grant enables a group in the east to engage the public and the media in discussions about human rights. A third grant encourages youth civic participation.