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Afghanistan

Section 2. Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

b. Freedoms of Peaceful Assembly and Association

The constitution provides for the freedoms of peaceful assembly and association, and the government generally respected these rights; however, the government limited these freedoms in some instances.

Algeria

Section 2. Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

b. Freedoms of Peaceful Assembly and Association

Although the constitution provides for freedom of peaceful assembly and association, the government severely restricted the exercise of these rights.

Freedom of Peaceful Assembly: The constitution provides for the right of peaceful assembly, but the government continued to curtail this right. A ban on demonstrations in Algiers remained in effect. Authorities utilized the ban to prohibit assembly within the city limits. Nationwide, the government required citizens and organizations to obtain permits from the national government-appointed local governor before holding public meetings or demonstrations. The government restricted licenses to political parties, NGOs, and other groups to hold indoor rallies or delayed permission until the eve of the event, thereby impeding publicity and outreach efforts by organizers.

The ongoing hirak protest movement, which began on February 22, consists of mass, peaceful protest marches taking place every Tuesday and Friday in many locations throughout the country. Hundreds of thousands of individuals have marched peacefully demanding political reforms. The marches occurred mostly without incident, although police at times used tear gas and water cannons as methods of crowd control.

Hotels in Algiers and other major cities continued their practice of refusing to sign rental contracts for meeting spaces with political parties, NGOs, and civil associations without a copy of written authorization from the Ministry of Interior for the proposed gathering. NGOs reported instances of not receiving the written authorization in time to hold planned meetings. NGOs reported that the government threatened hotel and restaurant owners with penalties if they rented rooms to NGOs without official authorization. In most cases, the NGOs continued to hold their meetings and police came to the hotels to end the gatherings.

In July, the Algerian League for the Defense of Human Rights (LADDH) and 15 representatives from other NGOs gathered at a hotel in Oran to discuss migration. Security services prevented the meeting from taking place “in the absence of an official authorization.” The attendees moved their meetings elsewhere and were followed by police who ordered them to disperse.

Throughout the year police dispersed unauthorized gatherings or prevented marching groups of protesters from demonstrating. Police typically dispersed protesters shortly after a protest began and arrested and detained organizers for a few hours. Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, and other NGOs criticized the government’s use of the law to restrict peaceful assembly.

In September a group of military veterans organized a protest in Algiers, prompting a crackdown by authorities. Press reported 107 protestors were injured along with 51 police and gendarmes.

Freedom of Association: The constitution provides for the right of association, but the government restricted this right.

The law’s extensive requirements and uneven enforcement served as major impediments to the development of civil society. The law grants the government wide-ranging oversight of and influence in the day-to-day activities of civil society organizations. It requires national-level civil organizations to apply to the Ministry of Interior for permission to operate. Once registered, organizations must inform the government of their activities, funding sources, and personnel, including notification of personnel changes. The law imposes an additional requirement that associations obtain government preapproval before accepting foreign funds. If organizations fail to provide required information to the government or attempt to operate with or accept foreign funds without authorization, they are subject to fines between DZD 2,000 and DZD 5,000 ($17 and $43) and up to six months’ imprisonment.

According to the law, associations that apply for accreditation are entitled to receive a response within two months for national organizations, 45 days for interregional-level associations, 40 days for province-level associations, and 30 days for communal organizations. While the Ministry of Interior oversees the accreditation process for most associations, the president of a local assembly approves applications for communal associations.

The Ministry of Interior may deny a license to or dissolve any group regarded as a threat to the government’s authority or to public order, and on several occasions failed to grant, in an expeditious fashion, official recognition to NGOs, associations, religious groups, and political parties. According to the ministry, organizations receive a receipt after submitting their application for accreditation, and after the time periods listed above, this slip is legally sufficient for them to begin operating, to open a bank account, and to rent office or event space. The law does not explicitly include this provision. If the application is approved, the ministry issues a final accreditation document.

Many organizations reported that they never received a deposit slip and that even with the receipt; it was difficult to conduct necessary administrative tasks without formal accreditation. Other organizations reported they never received any written response to their application request even after calling the ministry and trying to register at local police stations. The ministry maintained that organizations that were refused accreditation or that did not receive a response within the specified time period could appeal to the State Council, the administrative court responsible for cases involving the government.

The ministry did not renew the accreditations of the NGOs SOS Disparus (SOS Disappeared), Djazairouna, the LADDH, the National Association for the Fight against Corruption, and the Youth Action Movement, all of which submitted their renewal applications in prior years.

The government issued licenses and subsidies to domestic associations, especially youth, medical, and neighborhood associations. According to the Ministry of Interior, there were 109,000 local and 1,532 national associations registered as of September, including 628 registered since January unlicensed NGOs remained active, but rarely received government assistance, and citizens at times hesitated to associate with these organizations.

Angola

Section 2. Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

b. Freedoms of Peaceful Assembly and Association

Bahrain

Section 2. Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

b. Freedoms of Peaceful Assembly and Association

Brunei

Section 2. Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

b. Freedoms of Peaceful Assembly and Association

The government limited and restricted freedoms of peaceful assembly and association.

Burma

Section 2. Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

b. Freedoms of Peaceful Assembly and Association

The constitution provides for the freedoms of peaceful assembly and association, but the government restricted these rights.

Cameroon

Section 2. Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

b. Freedoms of Peaceful Assembly and Association

The government limited and restricted freedoms of peaceful assembly and association.

Central African Republic

Section 2. Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

b. Freedoms of Peaceful Assembly and Association

The constitution provides for the freedoms of peaceful assembly and association, including the right to participate in political protests. The government, however, denied most requests to protest that were submitted by civil society groups, citing insecurity in Bangui.

Between April and June, the government repeatedly denied the right to peacefully demonstrate to a platform of civil society and opposition political parties, known as “E Zingo Biani.” On June 15, “E Zingo Biani” attempted to organize a meeting at the UCATEX stadium located in the Combatant district in the eighth constituency of Bangui near the Bangui M’poko Airport. The group submitted a request to the Ministry of Interior and Public Security; however, the request was denied. The Central African police, supported by MINUSCA forces as well as citizens who were part of a proregime paramilitary group called the “Central African Sharks Movement,” led by Heritier Doneng, prevented the demonstration from taking place. The group attempted to circumvent the ban peacefully with a demonstration and a march. Police fired teargas at the demonstrators, several of whom were severely injured. Former minister Joseph Bendounga and two AFP reporters were arrested by the OCRB.

Democratic Republic of the Congo

Section 2. Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

b. Freedoms of Peaceful Assembly and Association

Djibouti

Section 2. Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

b. Freedoms of Peaceful Assembly and Association

The government limited freedoms of peaceful assembly and association. Opposition members alleged security forces routinely cancelled or disrupted meetings and other political events.

Egypt

Section 2. Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

b. Freedoms of Peaceful Assembly and Association

The government restricted freedoms of peaceful assembly and association.

Eritrea

Section 2. Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

b. Freedoms of Peaceful Assembly and Association

The government restricted freedoms of peaceful assembly and association.

Gabon

Section 2. Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

b. Freedoms of Peaceful Assembly and Association

The government limited freedom of peaceful assembly but not freedom of association.

Guinea

Section 2. Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

b. Freedoms of Peaceful Assembly and Association

The constitution provides for the freedoms of peaceful assembly and association, but the government allegedly barred public protests.

Iraq

Section 2. Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

b. Freedoms of Peaceful Assembly and Association

The government sometimes limited freedoms of peaceful assembly and association.

Kazakhstan

Section 2. Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

b. Freedoms of Peaceful Assembly and Association

Libya

Section 2. Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

b. Freedoms of Peaceful Assembly and Association

Mauritania

Section 2. Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

b. Freedoms of Peaceful Assembly and Association

Nicaragua

Section 2. Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

b. Freedoms of Peaceful Assembly and Association

The government restricted freedoms of peaceful assembly and association.

Nigeria

Section 2. Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

b. Freedoms of Peaceful Assembly and Association

Oman

Section 2. Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

b. Freedoms of Peaceful Assembly and Association

The government restricted freedoms of peaceful assembly and association. Human rights organizations expressed concern that overly broad provisions in the penal code could further restrict the work of human rights activists and limit freedoms of peaceful assembly and association.

Pakistan

Section 2. Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

b. Freedoms of Peaceful Assembly and Association

The constitution and laws provide for the freedoms of peaceful assembly and association, but these freedoms were subject to restrictions.

Qatar

Section 2. Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

b. Freedoms of Peaceful Assembly and Association

The government limited freedoms of peaceful assembly and association.

Russia

Section 2. Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

b. Freedoms of Peaceful Assembly and Association

The government restricted freedoms of peaceful assembly and association.

Rwanda

Section 2. Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

b. Freedoms of Peaceful Assembly and Association

The constitution, law, or both provide for the freedoms of peaceful assembly and association, but the government limited these rights.

Saudi Arabia

Section 2. Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

b. Freedoms of Peaceful Assembly and Association

The law does not provide for freedom of assembly and association, which the government severely limited.

South Sudan

Section 2. Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

b. Freedoms of Peaceful Assembly and Association

The government generally respected freedom of peaceful assembly but restricted freedom of association.

Thailand

Section 2. Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

b. Freedoms of Peaceful Assembly and Association

The government restricted freedoms of peaceful assembly and association.

Turkey

Section 2. Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

b. Freedoms of Peaceful Assembly and Association

The government restricted the freedoms of peaceful assembly and association.

United Arab Emirates

Section 2. Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

b. Freedoms of Peaceful Assembly and Association

The constitution provides for the freedoms of assembly and association, but the government did not always respect these rights.

Uzbekistan

Section 2. Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

b. Freedoms of Peaceful Assembly and Association

The government sometimes restricted freedoms of peaceful assembly and association.

Venezuela

Section 2. Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

b. Freedoms of Peaceful Assembly and Association

Vietnam

Section 2. Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

b. Freedoms of Peaceful Assembly and Association

Yemen

Section 2. Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

b. Freedoms of Peaceful Assembly and Association

The law provides for the freedoms of peaceful assembly and association, but these rights were not respected in the majority of the country, i.e., areas which the government did not control.

Zimbabwe

Section 2. Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

b. Freedoms of Peaceful Assembly and Association

The constitution provides for the freedoms of peaceful assembly and association, but the government restricted these rights.

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U.S. Department of State

The Lessons of 1989: Freedom and Our Future