AFRICA/ALGERIA – Caritas Algeria ceases its activities at the request of the Algerian authorities
Algiers (Agence Fid by Mgr Paul Desfarges, emeritus of Algiers and president of the Algerian Diocesan Association. The press release, written in a formal style, simply indicates that the measure was taken at the request of the Algerian authorities. “Of course” , says the text, “the Catholic Church remains faithful to its charitable mission at the service of fraternity”, that is to say “in relation to all people of good will”.
The statement quotes the introduction of the Document on Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together, signed on February 4, 2019 in Abu Dhabi by Pope Francis and Sunni Sheikh Ahmed al Tayyeb, Grand Imam of Al Azhar: “The faith leads a believer to see in the other a brother or sister to be supported and loved. Through faith in God, who created the universe, creatures, and all human beings (equal in his mercy), believers are called to express this human brotherhood by safeguarding creation and the entire universe and by supporting all people, especially the poorest and most needy”. “The Catholic Church”, concludes the statement signed by the Archbishop Emeritus of Algiers, “I would like to thank all those who, over the years and in different ways, have contributed to the realization of this work at the service of the most vulnerable. and the Algerian people”.
The decision to stop the activities of Caritas Algeria was taken by the responsible Algerian authorities without giving detailed official justification to the bishops of the Catholic Church in Algeria. Local sources inform Fides that Caritas has probably been subject to these restrictive measures because it is considered a foreign non-governmental organization. All communications from the Ministry of the Interior made general references to the Catholic Church being supposed to “cover” an unauthorized organization engaging in “illegal” activities, without giving specific references to the articles of the law allegedly violated. .
However, representatives of the local Catholic community rule out that the measures imposed by the Algerian authorities are fueled by feelings of hostility towards the Catholic Church and its presence in the country. They see it rather as a link with the general policy of restrictions recently imposed on foreign and multinational NGOs. The Algerian authorities have not taken into account the uniqueness of Caritas as the charitable arm of the Catholic Church, a uniqueness which distinguishes it intrinsically and “by right” from non-governmental organizations, including those working in the field of humanitarian aid and assistance. asset.
Caritas Algeria’s initiatives have been designed and implemented to benefit the most vulnerable sections of the Algerian population, 97% of whom profess Islam. Caritas Algeria has always taken care of the phenomenon of migrants and has above all supported the sick and minors with transparent aid programs. (GV) (Fides Service, 9/27/2022)