Pillay in first visit to Algeria

Sept. 18, 2012 at 9:28 AM

ALGIERS, Algeria, Sept. 18 (UPI) -- The Algerian government extended an invitation to the U.N. high commissioner for human rights to assess civil society, the United Nations said.

U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay arrived in Algeria for discussions with civil society organizations. Her visit marks a first by a sitting high commissioner for human rights.

Al-Qaida last year called on Algerians to rise up against the government. The U.S. State Department issued a travel advisory for Algeria ahead of a May election in the country, noting terrorist attacks and kidnappings "occur regularly" in Algeria.

An estimated 25,800 candidates competed, though the government warned foreign election monitors to act with discretion. Watchdog groups questioned the fairness of the vote.

The British government in June said it was looking for North African leadership with the Algerian government.

Pillay is to meet with justice and human rights officials while in Algeria.

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