An Italian member of the European Parliament (MEP) accused the Algerian government of “suppressing” the indigenous Amazigh community from the Kabylia region following the adoption of two laws which endanger their freedoms, revealed Minority Rights Groups International .
Massimiliano Salini presented to the European Parliament on Monday a letter addressed to the Vice-President of the European Commission and to the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. “The Algerian government is strengthening its grip and carrying out acts of repression using emergency lockdown measures,” Salini said.
The MEP underlined the “numerous demonstrations” organized by the Amazigh community against “the discontent due to the limits imposed on freedom of expression and religion” in Kabylia, where the largest Amazigh population lives. The Amazigh community is the second largest in North Africa. Since the so-called Berber spring of 1980, they have actively demanded official recognition of their language. Many have long claimed autonomy and even independence.
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Salini, who is a member of the right-wing Forza Italia party of former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, also expressed concern over “threats of instability and authoritarianism” in North Africa amid the involvement of the Turkey in the Libyan conflict and Algeria’s exploitation of Covid-19 lockdown measures. His letter also mentioned the plight of the Christian minority within the community, “which suffers from persecution.”
According to the Organization of Nations and Unrepresented Peoples (UNPO), the Amazighs are the indigenous people of North Africa, with around 30 to 40 million spread across Morocco, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Mali, Niger and Mauritania. They often face segregation and discrimination in their home country and deliberate attempts are made to destroy Amazigh culture. After decades of activism, the Amazigh language has been officially recognized in Morocco last year, where there are three main dialects.
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