Resolution on Algeria
NEW DELHI COUNCIL - Social Democracy in Asia Today, 10-11 November 1997
1. We support the Algerian people, a nation which achieved independence through immense suffering and which, over these last years, has lived through a period of tragic violence, with the loss of tens of thousands of human lives.
2. We strongly condemn this atrocious spiral of violence, death and violation of human rights, as terrorist violence bears down on the most vulnerable sectors of society, children, women and the elderly, and in which the large majority of the Algerian population are innocent victims: Algeria has become a land of martyrs who hope for peace and freedom.
3. We do so from a position of solidarity and respect, which rejects interference in internal affairs and actively supports the sovereignty of the State, and which, on this basis, solemnly affirms that, faced with the Algerian tragedy, the alternative is certainly not just a choice between interference or silence.
4. It is not possible nor would it be right to remain silent, indifferent and inactive in the face of what is happening in Algeria.
5. We believe that the Algerian authorities do possess adequate means today to take the country out of this spiral of violence, if they establish an agreement with all the political, social, cultural and religious forces which reject and condemn the violence, in a framework of fundamental freedoms and respect for human rights.
6. However, this process of agreement and collaboration, which would move towards the widely shared objectives of peace, democracy and progress, has not been possible up to now, and worrying signs have appeared that indicate the continuation of violence and a backwards step in the establishment of a system of freedoms.
7. Crowds of demonstrators in different Algerian cities have recently showed that beyond the abyss of killings and endless violence, a civil society exists that is willing to fight peacefully, with extraordinary bravery, for the sacred principles of peace, liberty and human rights.
8. Such protests have been held amid local and regional elections, during which the evidence of irregularities have been abundant and clear. The military and political authorities are wrong to remain deaf to these voices of the majority of the Algerian people who want a peace with democracy and liberty. It would be wrong of them to respond to all calls from the international community as if these were shows of interference. It would be wrong to resort to hostile actions against sectors which reject violence, as sadly happened with the restriction in fundamental freedoms, the violent breaking up of demonstrations led by parliamentarians, or the sentences and detentions of the press.
9. Military measures are not the only instruments in the fight against terrorism, national and international credibility is also needed. Credibility via fully legitimate, free and transparent institutions, capable of grouping and mobilising a large majority of the nation who want peace and freedom, as essential aims and as a guarantee of a stable future and of economic and social development.
10. We call on the Algerian government to listen to the voice of the protests, of the thousands of women, men and young people who have marched in the streets in the main Algerian cities to protest against the violence and for peace and democracy.
11. We call on it to choose the path of dialogue proposed by the social, political and religious leaders of Algerian society, and by the international community as a whole.
12. We call on it to show confidence in Algerian civil society, by giving freedom of expression and information and by allowing those men and women who oppose the violence to express themselves and to act freely. In particular, the SI asks for full and genuine freedom of speech and of the press.
13. We call on the government to open a political dialogue with all the political, social and cultural forces which reject violence and terrorism, in order to establish national unity around a programme for securing peace.
14. We call for scrupulous examination of the statements concerning electoral irregularities which were made after the elections on 23 October.
15. The massacres, in particular the terrible killings over the last few months, must be well documented and to this end we call on the Parliament and civil society of Algeria, and on the international comunity.
16. We call on United Nations to do all that it can to help achieve a peaceful outcome of the Algerian situation.
17. We call on the European Union, in accordance with the Barcelona Declaration, to make its relations with Algeria dependent on the positive evolution of the situation of freedoms and human rights in this country.
18. Finally, we declare our support for the political, social, cultural and religious forces in Algeria who fight for peace, freedom and human rights, and lend them our solidarity.
19. Their principles are our principles: absolute rejection of using violence to obtain and maintain power, rejection of all dictatorships and the right of the people to build and defend their democratic institutions; the guarantee of basic liberties, of pluralism and of the separation and balance of powers; respect for regular elections through universal suffrage; respect and advocation of human rights; the primacy of the law and of the principles of the rule of law.
20. To all the political, social, cultural and religious sectors who fight in Algeria, struggling for peace and democracy, from their different positions and in the framework of legitimate and necessary pluralism, in particular to our member party the Socialist Forces Front, FFS, the SI says, from all corners of the world: you are not alone in your struggle.
21. We are sure that your difficult and heroic action will bear fruit, and finally you will achieve a peaceful, free and prosperous Algeria.