Algeria: UN Human Rights Office Highlights Fabricated Information in Relation to Algeria


After the publication of a number of articles misrepresenting the UN human rights system in relation to Algeria, the UN Human Rights Office is issuing the following clarification:

GENEVA (4 September 2020) — An article published in French, Arabic and English by the Algérie Presse Service (APS) on Tuesday 1 September claimed that a body called “The Geneva Office of the United Nations Dispute Tribunal” (‘le Bureau des Contentieux de l’ONU à Genève’) had rejected a complaint by a group of Algerian political activists “24 hours after being submitted and examined by the office’s legal officers.”

The article listed reasons why the complaint had been summarily dismissed, and quoted an interview it said had been broadcast two days earlier on Radio Monte Carlo by an individual purportedly called Issam Al Muhammadi whom APS described as the Secretary of the tribunal. The Algerian news agency article contained a large photograph of a UN meeting room in Geneva, complete with UN logo, apparently aiming to lend credibility to the story.

UN Human Rights Office spokesperson Rupert Colville on Friday made it clear the article was incorrect.

“The information contained in the article – which has been widely picked up by other media in Algeria and elsewhere — is a complete fabrication from start to finish,” he said. “No UN human rights body with this name exists* and we have been unable to identify any relevant UN staff member or independent UN human rights expert named Issam Al Muhammadi.”