Canadian immigrants of Kabyle origin accuse Algeria of intimidation in their new home country

Canadian immigrants of Kabyle origin accuse Algeria of intimidation in their new home country
Photo: Algerian Embassy in Ottawa / Source:

The CBC in Canada reports several Canadians of Kabyle origin, including government officials, have faced intimidation from Algerian officials in their new home country.  

The Kabyles represent the largest population of Berbers in Algeria. Some members have been advocating for an independent state in the north of the country.

The Canadians quoted in the article were all affiliated with protests in Montreal and Ottawa in support of the “Movement for the Self-Determination of Kabyle” (MAK).

Algeria has declared MAK a terrorist organization. The U.S. and Canada have not and say the designation is more political than security driven. Rights groups say it’s meant to silence peaceful protest.

"There is a climate of fear in the community," Kamel Serbouh, president of the Centre Aqvayli de Montréal, told the CBC. 

The Algerian Canadians allege they received calls from consular officials requesting an in-person meeting. They were then told to distance themselves from MAK and provide names of others involved in the movement. In return, they would be free to travel to Algeria and visit family without complication. 

Global Affairs Canada that manages diplomatic relations states on its website that Algeria has “prevented dual Canadian-Algerian citizens from leaving Algeria after they were identified as politically engaged in Canada.”

One man quoted in the article said the intimidation tactics won’t work. 

"Yes, I want to return to my native country to see my family, but not at any cost,” he said.

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