Algerian newspapers have been slammed for publishing the story of a kidnapped teenage girl who has been missing for a year.
Al Jazeera English has published a report that claims the 16-year-old is among hundreds of abducted young girls in Algeria and other countries across the world.
Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika has vowed to “find the kidnappers and bring them to justice”.
The report by Al Jazeera has come at a particularly sensitive time for the country.
The kidnapping of a 14-year old girl, Amine Sadek, was widely condemned by human rights groups, including Amnesty International, and by President Boutefli, who has repeatedly said he would pursue the case.
Amine Sasek was abducted by gunmen in June 2016 and held captive for three months.
The Algerian government has denied the allegations.
Amirah Nour, a spokesperson for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, said: “The Algerians are committed to finding Amine and her kidnappers.”
She said the UN has received more than 300 reports from parents, students and relatives about the case and is working to help.
“They are not only missing but they are also in extreme fear,” she said.
Amnesty International said in a statement on Tuesday that the Algerian authorities “are failing to provide adequate information on the whereabouts of Amine”.
“Algeria is not a safe country for girls.
The Government must urgently take concrete steps to protect the rights of girls and their families.”
Algerie newspaper Le Journal de Libération said it has “serious concerns” about the report.
“This report contains disturbing allegations about a child abduction and is highly irresponsible, particularly in light of the fact that the authorities have refused to provide a comprehensive account of the kidnapping, the investigation and the result of the search for Amine,” it said in an editorial.
Al Jazeerah, a popular online newspaper, has published an article that criticises Al Jazeera for publishing it.
In the article, the newspaper said: The Algerian Government must ensure that it follows international human rights law in order to ensure that its people are not targeted and that it is not complicit in the exploitation of girls in the custody of foreign armed forces.
“It said the Algerians’ response to the abduction of Ammine was “a shameful failure”.”
It is time for Algeria to wake up to the fact it has a problem, a problem of kidnapping and its failure to provide effective protection and protection of the families of abducted girls,” it added.
The UN special rapporteur on human rights in Algeria, Peter Greste, said he was “deeply troubled” by the report and that the UN should have spoken to Amine’s family before publishing it, Al Jazeera’s Mohamed Adel reported.”
We’re still waiting to see what happened to Amines parents.
What happened to her?
“Grester told Al Jazeera.”
Amine has been abducted and is being held in an extremely dangerous situation.
She is very badly traumatised.
Her father is worried that she may not be able to get out.
“The UN has previously said it would investigate the case “with urgency” after reports surfaced that Algerian officials were involved in kidnapping a teenage girl from the United States.