Reparations bill for France's Harki allies heads to Senate

Fighters faced execution in Algeria and abandonment in France

A bill detailing reparations for France’s treatment of its Harki allies in Algeria’s war of independence is heading to the upper house of the French Parliament.

The bill recognises “services rendered in Algeria” by about 200,000 Harkis, native Muslim Algerians who served as auxiliaries in the French army from 1954 to 1962 but “were abandoned during the process of independence”.

Through the bill, the Harkis and their descendants would be offered compensation.

The legislation will now go to the Senate after a vote on Thursday in the lower house of Parliament passed it with 46 votes.

“We estimate that 6,000 compensation claims could be opened from 2022 onwards,” said MP Patricia Maralles, who brought the bill to Parliament.

President Emmanuel Macron has apologised for the treatment of Algerians who fought for French colonial forces during the war and focused his efforts on pushing the bill through the lower house.

The bill details the “unworthy” conditions faced by about 90,000 Harkis after they were forced to leave Algeria and lived in camps in France.

The Algerian war resulted in a humiliating defeat for France and left the Harkis to fend for themselves, despite earlier promises that the colonial power would look after them.

At least 30,000 Harkis and their families were killed in reprisals after being labelled as traitors, with some reports putting the figure as high as 140,000.

Only a few thousand Harkis are believed to be alive today.

In 2018, Mr Macron’s government promised €40 million ($46.9m) for the Harkis and their children via pensions and other aid.

Updated: November 19th 2021, 9:04 PM