Catholic Church in Algeria Announces “complete, definitive” Closure of Caritas Activities

Logo Caritas Algeria. Credit: Caritas Algeria

The leadership of the Catholic Church in Algeria has announced “with regret the complete and definitive closure” of all charitable activities and initiatives carried out by Caritas Algeria, as from the first day of October 2022.

In a statement obtained by ACI Africa Wednesday, September 28, the Local Ordinary of Algiers says that the measure was taken at the request of the “public authorities” of the North African country.

“The Catholic Church in Algeria announces with regret the complete and definitive closure of its service called ‘Caritas Algeria’, as from October 1st 2022, in accordance with the request of the public authorities,” Archbishop Jean-Paul Vesco says in the statement dated September 25.

Archbishop Vesco adds, “The Catholic Church remains faithful to its charitable mission in the service of brotherhood, in partnership with all people of good will.”

Making reference to the 2019 Document on Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together by Pope Francis and the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, Sheikh Ahmed el-Tayeb, the member of the Order of Friars Preachers (Dominicans – OP) says, “Faith leads a believer to see in the other a brother or sister to be supported and loved.”


He continues, “Through faith in God, who has created the universe, creatures and all human beings (equal on account of his mercy), believers are called to express this human fraternity by safeguarding creation and the entire universe and supporting all persons, especially the poorest and those most in need.”

The native of the Archdiocese of Lyon in France who has been at the helm of Algiers Archdiocese since his installation in February 2022 expresses gratitude to all those who have supported Caritas Algeria.

He says, “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.”

According to a September 27 report by Agenzia Fides, “The decision to stop the activities of Caritas Algeria was taken by the responsible Algerian authorities without giving a detailed official justification to the bishops of the Catholic Church in Algeria.”

“Caritas was probably the subject of these restrictive measures because it is considered a foreign non-governmental organization,” the report further indicates.

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The report also states that “all Interior Ministry communications made general references to the fact that the Catholic Church was allegedly covering an unauthorized organization engaged in illegal activities, without giving specific references to any articles of the law allegedly violated.”

“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,” Agenzia Fides has reported, adding, “Rather, they see a connection with the general policy of restrictions that have recently been 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 that distinguishes it intrinsically and by law from non-governmental organizations, including those working in the field of humanitarian aid and assistance,” the report says.

Caritas Algeria's initiatives were designed and implemented to benefit the most vulnerable sections of the Algerian population, 97 percent of whom profess Islam. 

Caritas Algeria has always dealt with the phenomenon of migrants and above all supported sick people and minors with transparent aid programs.


Jude Atemanke is a Cameroonian journalist with a passion for Catholic Church communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of Buea in Cameroon. Currently, Jude serves as a journalist for ACI Africa.