Consent is the determining factor for a marriage to be considered forced or free, according to most of the sources consulted by Cedoca. Forced marriage is known to take place in Algeria and the reason invoked is generally the need to marry a daughter who could otherwise bring dishonour upon her family. Other factors, e.g. economic ones can also prove decisive.
Algeria has signed international conventions aimed at combatting forced marriage and has amended its Family Code in 2005 so that the consent of both parties to a marriage is now legally required. However - as pointed out by several participants at the CIDDEF seminar and other sources - because of tradition, various interpretations of the law and of the Quran, as well as the rise of religious fundamentalism, genuine consent by women in marriage remains an issue.
According to the latest multiple survey carried out in 2012-2013 by the Ministry of Health, Population and Hospital Reform, 3.1 % of women were married before the legal minimum age of 19. Two factors bear a decisive influence on the prevalence of early marriage: the level of education and the area of residence. Referring to socio-demographic factors at the CIDDEF seminar, a source summed up the results of the survey as follows: “women younger than 19 who are already married live in rural areas, come from poor families in the west or the south of the country and did not go beyond primary school.”
In theory, women and children have access to the courts but, in practice, financial and social constraints limit their capacity to protect their rights and obtain judicial redress. Moreover, the sources consulted by Cedoca have no knowledge of police or legal actions taken in favour of potential or actual victims of forced marriage. A solution within the family is sometimes envisaged.
There are several reception centres run by the government or by civil society organizations that can accommodate women who are victims of violence. However, these centres only exist in big cities, and organisations who assist underage girls can get into trouble with the law.
Moreover, sources show that landlords are unlikely to accept single women as tenants. Women do not however need an authorisation from their husband or parents to obtain employment.
The policy implemented by the Commissioner General is based on a thorough analysis of accurate and up-to-date information on the general situation in the country of origin. This information is collated in a professional manner from various, objective sources, including the EASO, the UNHCR, relevant international human rights organisations, non-governmental organisations, professional literature and coverage in the media. When determining policy, the Commissioner General does not only examine the COI Focuses written by Cedoca and published on this website, as these deal with just one aspect of the general situation in the country of origin. The fact that a COI Focus could be out-of-date does not mean that the policy that is being implemented by the Commissioner General is no longer up-to-date.
When assessing an application for asylum, the Commissioner General not only considers the actual situation in the country of origin at the moment of decision-making, he also takes into account the individual situation and personal circumstances of the applicant for international protection. Every asylum application is examined individually. An applicant must comprehensively demonstrate that he has a well-founded fear of persecution or that there is a clear personal risk of serious harm. He cannot, therefore, simply refer back to the general conditions in his country, but must also present concrete, credible and personal facts.
There is no policy paper for this country available on the website..