LETTER:Europe's role in bringing about reconciliation in Algeria

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From Mr Roger W Goldsmith

Sir: Robert Fisk's articles over the past two weeks and your perceptive leading article highlight the disintegrating situation in Algeria. You state that this is a textbook case for the European Union to speak with the authority of its common foreign and security policy but, at the same time, ask what Islamic party, if it came to power, would now heed Europe's pleas for human rights?

This is a tragedy. It is perhaps not generally recognised that the European Parliament has provided the impetus for the insertion of human rights clauses in agreements concluded between third countries and the EU. It is time, however, that the EU condemned all human rights abuses, whoever may be carrying them out and irrespective of the EU's perceived own interest. Its subsequent policies to third countries should then reflect this.

The EU should condemn, in the strongest possible terms, the appalling human rights abuses committed by both Algerian security forces and Islamist armed groups in Algeria, and use its not inconsiderable influence to help all moderate Algerians to find a peaceful solution to the ever-deepening crisis in their country.

Yours faithfully,


Colwyn Bay, Clwyd

16 March

The writer is Country Co-ordinator, Algeria, for Amnesty International British Section.