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Amnesty International Annual Report 2011 - Angola

Publisher Amnesty International
Publication Date 13 May 2011
Cite as Amnesty International, Amnesty International Annual Report 2011 - Angola, 13 May 2011, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4dce1583c.html [accessed 1 October 2014]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Head of state: José Eduardo dos Santos
Head of government: António Paulo Kassoma
Death penalty: abolitionist for all crimes
Population: 19 million
Life expectancy: 48.1 years
Under-5 mortality (m/f): 220/189 per 1,000
Adult literacy: 69.6 per cent

Several people were arrested and accused of crimes against the state. Some remained in detention without trial. Two prisoners of conscience and several possible prisoners of conscience were convicted of crimes against the security of the state. Forced evictions continued to be carried out. Several planned demonstrations were arbitrarily prohibited. Police officers were brought to justice in at least one case of extrajudicial execution, but police continued to violate human rights. Despite an agreement between Angola and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) to stop mass expulsions of the other country's nationals, Angola continued these expulsions, during which human rights violations were committed.

Background

On 8 January, the Togo football team was attacked in Cabinda as it travelled to play in the African Cup of Nations football tournament being hosted by Angola. Two people were killed and several injured during the attack. A faction of the Front for the Liberation of the Cabinda State, FLEC/PM, claimed responsibility for the attack, stating that it did not intend to attack the team, only the Angolan Armed Forces members (FAA) escorting the team. A few days later another faction, FLEC-Fac, reportedly also claimed responsibility. Two men, João António Puati and Daniel Simbai, were arrested on suspicion of carrying out the attack. João António Puati was convicted and sentenced to 24 years' imprisonment for the attack, while Daniel Simbai was acquitted. At least 14 others were arrested following the attack, although not accused directly of carrying it out. There were further attacks by FLEC in Cabinda during 2010.

In January, parliament approved a new Constitution which provides for the President to be elected by parliament. The Constitution also allows President dos Santos, who has been in office for over 30 years, to serve two more five-year terms. In addition, it replaces the Prime Minister with a Vice-President selected by the President.

In September, the Angolan Bar Association asked the Constitutional Court to rule on the legality of Article 26 of the Law on crimes against the security of the state. The article stated that "all and every act, not foreseen in the law that puts at risk or could put at risk the security of the state will be punishable". In December the Court decided it did not have to make a ruling on this due to a new Law on crimes against the security of the state approved by parliament in November. The new law repeals Article 26 of the old law, but makes it a criminal offence to insult the Republic, the President or any organ of power of the state.

In February, Angola's human rights record was assessed under the UN Universal Periodic Review. In September Angola presented its report to the Committee on the Rights of the Child.

Right to adequate housing – forced evictions

In October, President dos Santos reiterated the government's commitment to enabling Angolan families to obtain their own houses and in November he launched a slum restoration project. Despite this, forced evictions continued in the capital, Luanda and there were large-scale forced evictions in Huíla province. There were also threats of forced evictions in other parts of the country.

  • In March over 3,000 homes near the railway line in Lubango, Huíla province, were demolished to make way for railway upgrades. At least two children died during these forced evictions; one when debris fell on him and another apparently due to poor living conditions following the demolitions. Those forcibly evicted were moved to Tchavola neighbourhood, on the outskirts of Lubango, and left without access to clean water or basic services and exposed to extremes of weather. Only 600 tents were provided for all the families. In April, the Huíla provincial government apologized for the demolitions. However, there were reports of further forced evictions in Lubango in August and in September.

Unlawful killings

In March, seven police officers were convicted and sentenced to 24 years' imprisonment by the Luanda Provincial Court for killing eight youths in the Largo da Frescura area of Luanda in July 2008. However, many police officers continued to violate human rights with impunity.

  • In May, the bodies of William Marques Luís "Líro Boy" and Hamilton Pedro Luís "Kadú" were found by their family in the Central Morgue of Luanda. They had been arrested without a warrant at their home in Luanda's Benfica neighbourhood by several police officers and were subsequently extrajudicially executed. "Kadú" was reportedly beaten by the police outside his home before he and "Líro Boy" were taken away. "Kadú" had been shot in the head and abdomen and his body showed signs of having been beaten. "Líro Boy" had been shot several times in the head and his body showed signs of torture, including broken limbs. In November police authorities announced that those responsible for the deaths had been detained. No further details were provided.

  • In July, 19-year-old Valentino Abel was killed when a police officer opened fire in the Belo Horizonte area of Kunhinga Municipality in Huambo. The police officer had apparently intervened to stop an altercation and had been slapped. He then reportedly became enraged and started shooting indiscriminately. Three shots hit Valentino Abel in the thorax, killing him. The Municipal Police Commander stated that the police officer had been drunk and had run away following the incident, but was captured two days later. However, no information was available concerning any proceedings against him.

Freedom of assembly

Despite provisions of the new Constitution guaranteeing the right to demonstrate peacefully without the need for authorization, this right was denied on a number of occasions.

  • On 1 April, OMUNGA, an NGO based in Benguela, informed the Benguela provincial government of its intention to hold a peaceful march on 10 April in protest against forced evictions in Huíla province and in solidarity with the victims. A similar march planned in March had not been allowed, allegedly because not all the requirements of the law had been complied with. Although the organizers had complied with national law, the Benguela provincial government once again refused to authorize the march planned for April, on the grounds that there had been no forced evictions in the province. Nevertheless, the demonstration went ahead peacefully on the day.

  • In May, the Cabinda provincial government refused to allow a planned march in protest against the arbitrary arrest and detention of people in connection with the attack on the Togo football team, even though the organizers of the march had complied with all the requirements of the law.

In June, the President of the Constitutional Court stated that Angolan national law does not require prior authorization from administrative authorities for demonstrations to occur. However, authorities continued to prevent peaceful demonstrations.

Prisoners of conscience and possible prisoners of conscience

Between January and April, at least 14 people were arrested in Cabinda on charges related to the January attack on the Togo football team. Two were prisoners of conscience and a number of others were possible prisoners of conscience. Seven were released without charge, while the others were charged with crimes against the security of the state. of these one had the charges dropped after seven months' detention, another was acquitted, while five were convicted but later released due to the repeal of article 26 of the Law on crimes against the security of the state under which they were convicted. There were also other arrests in other provinces of possible prisoners of conscience.

  • In August, prisoners of conscience Francisco Luemba, a lawyer, and Raul Tati, a Catholic priest, were convicted of being the "moral authors of the crime of other crimes against the security of the state" and sentenced to five years' imprisonment by the Cabinda Provincial court. They were tried along with two other men who might also have been prisoners of conscience, José Benjamin Fuca and Belchior Lanso Tati, who were sentenced to three and six years respectively. Police arrested all four men shortly after the attack in January. They had documents on Cabinda and had recently attended a conference aimed at finding a peaceful resolution to the situation. José Benjamin Fuca and Belchior Lanso Tati allegedly also confessed to being members of FLEC. They appealed to the Supreme and Constitutional Courts. On 22 December, all four men were unconditionally released by the Cabinda Provincial Court due to the repeal of the law under which they were convicted.

  • Police arrested more members of the Commission of the Legal Sociological Manifesto of the Lunda Tchokwe Protectorate. Between January and October, at least 24 members were reportedly arrested in Luanda and Lunda Norte province. Thirteen were reportedly released without charge after varying periods in pre-trial detention. Three, Sebastião Lumani, José Muteba and José António da Silva Malembela, were convicted of crimes against the security of the state by the Lunda-Norte Provincial Court. They were sentenced to six years', five years' and four years' imprisonment respectively and remained in prison at the end of the year despite the repeal of the law under which they were convicted. Domingos Manuel Muatoyo and Alberto Cabaza, who were arrested in Luanda in July, were accused of demonstrating against the government and remained in pre-trial detention at the end of the year. A further six people remained in detention without charge. Other members of the Commission arrested in 2009 remained in prison without trial at the end of the year despite the repeal of the law under which they were charged.

Migrants' rights

Despite an agreement in 2009 to stop expulsions between Angola and the DRC, the Angolan authorities continued to expel Congolese nationals and the expulsions were accompanied by human rights violations, including sexual violence. The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported that over 12,000 migrants had been expelled to Bandundu, Bas-Congo and Kasai provinces between September and the end of the year. According to OCHA, 99 women and 15 men were raped during the expulsion. One woman reportedly died in hospital after being raped. Other human rights violations included torture and other ill-treatment, and many of the migrants arrived naked and without their belongings. There were other expulsions in the course of the year.

No one is known to have been held responsible for human rights violations associated with these expulsions or similar expulsions in previous years.

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