| 24 April 2024, Wednesday |

France Approves Reparation Bill for Algeria’s Harkis

The French parliament adopted on Tuesday a bill to ask reparation to the Harkis, after Sixty years on the end of the Algerian War, allowing their descendants to receive compensation for the way they were treated at the end of the war in 1962.

The Harkis were the Algerian Muslims who fought on the side of the French during the war of independence, but afterwards were left to fend for themselves.

The new French bill fulfills a commitment by President Emmanuel Macron last September, when he asked reparation to Algerians who were abandoned by France after the signing of the Evian Accords on March 18, 1962.

The Algerian War left nearly 500,000 dead, and its wounds are still open.

Tuesday’s move by the French deputies and senators comes to finalize the approval of the bill, which was adopted last week by the National Assembly.

“The bill is a recognition from the nation of the deep scar and the French tragedy of this dark page in our history,” Geneviève Darrieussecq, French Minister Delegate to the Minister of the Armed Forces, in charge of Remembrance and Veterans.

The text also recognizes France’s “inadequate” hosting of the 90,000 Harkis and their families who fled Algeria after independence.

Half of them were placed in camps in France, often with their families, in degrading and traumatizing conditions.

The bill proposes compensations for these families, ranging from 2,000 to 15,000 euros.

The government estimates that 50,000 Harkis families will benefit from the bill, with an estimated cost of 310 million euros, paid over approximately six years.

Up to 200,000 Harkis – the name comes the Arabic word for “movement” given to the mobile units in which they served – fought for the French colonial power during the 1954-62 war with Algeria’s National Liberation Front.

Since 2003, France holds a national day to honor the Harkis, a day which is observed each year on the 25th of September.

  • Asharq Al-Awsat