The current Angolan government’s respect for human rights is better than the previous regime. However, according to updated human rights reports from various international NGOs and to recent news reports, human rights abuse still stakes place in Angola. [1]  Some of these are carried over from the previous regime, and during the Covid-19 epidemic the Angolan government has committed several serious human rights violations and the country has a risk of democratic backsliding.  

Covid-19 and State of Emergency

Between May and July 2020, Angolan security forces tasked with implementing COVID-19 restrictions killed at least seven people, according to Amnesty International (2020). The victims were all boys and young men, and the youngest victim was just 14 years old. Amnesty believes the true death toll is likely to be much higher, and reports that Angolan security forces have repeatedly used excessive and unlawful force.

Although the global democratic backsliding preceded the Covid-19 pandemic, in some countries the pandemic is accelerating the dynamics of democratic regression. According to Croissant (2020: 1), the number of countries in which democratic leaders acquire emergency powers and autocrats step up repression is rapidly increasing. According to the Varieties of Democracy (V-Dem) institute’s Pandemic Backsliding Risk Index, 48 countries have a high risk of democratic decline during the Covid-19 pandemic and 34 countries are at medium risk.

Angola is at ‘medium risk’ because of ‘abusive enforcement’ and ‘restrictions on media freedom’ (V-Dem 2020: 1). The Democracy Index 2020 (IEU 2020) depicts the same trend. Even though the country’s classification improved from 2.41 in 2006 to 3.66 in 2020, Angola is still classified as an authoritarian regime (with a score between 0 and 4 points), and Angola’s civil liberties is the indicator with the lowest score, 2.66.

Political and civil rights have also been eroded by the constitutional use of emergency laws. Angola declared its first state of emergency on March 27th, 2020, and the country has gone through successive states of emergency due to the pandemic. According to the constitution, during a state of emergency the exercise of rights, freedoms, and guarantees may be limited or suspended. However, the constitution also stipulates that the state of emergency cannot, in any case, affect the application of constitutional rules, the right to life, personal integrity, and personal identity or individual citizenship status (Constitution of Angola, Article 58).[2] 

One example of the government’s sometimes abusive enforcement of the pandemic regulations was reported in the media in September 2020. Sílvio Andrade Dala, who was a Clinical Director of the Ndalatando Maternal and Children Hospital and at the time working on a training mission at the Paediatric Hospital in Luanda, was killed in a police station where he was taken under arrest for allegedly not using a mask while driving alone in his car when leaving the hospital.[3]

Recent human rights reports

According to the latest U.S. Department of State (2020) report on human rights in Angola, in 2019,

Significant human rights issues included: unlawful or arbitrary killings, including extrajudicial killings by government security forces; arbitrary detention by security forces; political prisoners; refoulement of refugees; corruption, although the government took significant steps to end impunity for senior officials; crimes of violence against women and girls, which the government took little action to prevent or prosecute; trafficking in persons; and crimes involving societal violence targeting lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) persons, although parliament passed landmark legislation prohibiting discrimination against LGBTI persons (U.S. Department of State 2020: 1-2).

The government took significant steps to prosecute or punish officials who committed abuses. It also dismissed and prosecuted cabinet ministers, provincial governors, senior military officers, and other officials for corruption and financial crimes. Nevertheless, accountability for human rights abuses was limited due to a lack of checks and balances, lack of institutional capacity, a culture of impunity, and government corruption (ibid.).

According to Amnesty International’s last (2020) website update on Angola,

Freedom of expression and peaceful assembly continued to be undermined, despite the initial signs of progress. Land disputes due to large-scale acquisition for private use continued to undermine the right to food and water in rural parts of the country. Failure to fulfil the right to water in both rural and urban areas remained as significant as ever. Extrajudicial killings in the diamond fields of Lunda Norte and Lunda Sul continued with impunity. The rights of LGBTI people remained at risk in practice despite legislative improvements (Amnesty International 2020).

According to Human Rights Watch website on Angola (HRW 2020a),

Angola’s political and civil rights environment has become less restrictive over the past year, and the courts appeared to operate without political interference. However, security forces have been implicated in extrajudicial killings, and frequently use intimidation, excessive force, and arbitrary detention.

HRW further reported that, despite some progress in respecting the rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly, the Angolan police intimidated and arbitrarily arrested activists for planning protests.  In September [2019], police arrested 23 people in Luena city during a peaceful protest against the administration of the governor of the Moxico province, ahead of a visit of President Joao Lourenco.

In May, police jailed activist Hitler “Samussuku” Tshikonde for 72 hours without charge or access to a lawyer. He was informed that that he was under investigation for allegedly “insulting the president” in a video that he had posted on social media. In July, police detained seven people who were peacefully protesting against lack of water supply in Benguela province. In August, police used tear gas and dogs to disperse a group that had gathered without authorization in front of the Parliament building to demand that next year’s municipal elections take place in every Angolan city (HRW 2020b).

Angolan police used live bullets, teargas, and dogs to disperse a peaceful anti-government protest, killing one protester, in the capital, Luanda, on November 11, 2020. […] Police severely beat the well-known activists Nito Alves and Laurinda Gouveia, who are both in critical condition, and arbitrarily arrested a third activist, Luaty Beirao. Footage posted on social media shows people running through Luanda’s streets, seeking places to hide as police indiscriminately fired live bullets and teargas at them.

Officers beat protesters with batons, threw them inside police vans, and drove them away to unknown locations. […] Security forces [also] brutally suppressed the October 24 protest – against corruption, massive unemployment, rising costs of living, and loss of political freedoms. The authorities arrested over 100 people, including journalists (HRW 2020c).

According to the UN Human Rights Committee (2019),

The Committee notes that the legal framework regulating the maintenance of public order, in particular the National Police Discipline Regulations of 1996, is not in line with international standards. It is also concerned about credible reports that excessive force is often used by law enforcement officers, especially during demonstrations, which has resulted in injuries and deaths. It is deeply concerned at reports that the officers responsible for demonstrators’ injuries and deaths are rarely prosecuted for such acts and that this has created a climate of de facto impunity (UNHRC 2019: 6).

A recent example of this use of excessive force is the killing of protesters in Lunda Norte province in late January 2021. According to Human Rights Watch, Angolan security forces killed at least 10 unarmed protesters during a protest organized by the Lunda Tchokwe Protectorate Movement. 20 were injured and 16 were detained (HRW 2021).

Youth protests

According to Amnesty International’s overview of Angola for 2016/17,

The worsening economic crisis triggered price rises for food, health care, fuel, recreation, and culture. This led to continued demonstrations expressing discontent and restrictions on the rights to freedom of expression, association, and peaceful assembly. The government misused the justice system and other state institutions to silence dissent (Amnesty International 2017).

The most recent report by EXX Africa (a business intelligence risk company) reports that two out of three Angolans are deeply dissatisfied with their government and pessimistic about their country’s outlook, and the report forecasts a spike in unrest and instability in Angola (EXX Africa 2020).

Over the past three months, this sentiment has triggered anti-government protests, which have often been brutally curbed by Angolan security forces. The protests started in August 2020 as peaceful demonstrations against entrenched state corruption, massive unemployment, rising costs of living, and loss of political freedoms. Both police and soldiers have cracked down on protesters using tear gas and live ammunition, while detaining journalists. The recent violence resembles scenes of the #EndSARS protests and police abuse in Nigeria (ibid.).

According to recent journalist reports,

In protests throughout October and November 2020, crowds blocked streets with burning tires and called for greater transparency within the Lourenço administration. Hundreds of people, some wearing face masks, marched through the capital of Luanda, chanting, waving signs and thrusting their fists in the air. “Angola says enough,” they shouted. Protestors also called for the resignation of Edeltrudes Costa, Lourenco’s chief of staff, who allegedly bought luxury homes overseas through offshore bank accounts after receiving a government contract intended to rebuild airports. In response, police unleashed dogs and fired live rounds at protestors. One victim, Inocêncio de Matos, a 26-year-old engineering student and first-time protester, bled to death on a busy road (Fitzgibbon 2020).

In November 2020 and in February 2021, the police invaded the campus of the Faculty of Social Sciences of the Agostinho Neto University (UAN), in response to calls from the university Rectorate. In the first case they came to prevent students from showing solidarity with their colleague Inocêncio de Matos who was killed by the police during the November demonstration. In the second case, the Rectorate called for police reinforcement to prevent the Movement of Angolan Students (MEA) from protesting against the ‘abusive increase of fees’ to access appeal exams and the arrest of at least 9 students on the morning of 22 February.[4]

More specifically, Angolan police has arbitrarily arrested individuals without due process and routinely detained persons who have participated, or were about to participate, in anti-government protests. Recently, Angola’s authorities (police, security forces, and army) have been very sensitive to youth groups organising spontaneous street protests and have on several occasions reacted with disproportionate force against such youth groups (NED 2019, Anderson 2019, Daldorph 2014).[5]

According to Amnesty International (2020b),

What we are witnessing in Angola is a full-frontal assault on human rights. The state is using security forces to silence people and deny them their rights to the freedoms of expression and peaceful assembly.

Police and security forces

Although civilian authorities generally maintained effective control over the security forces (U.S. Department of State2020:1), both government and ‘private’ security companies are doing the ‘dirty work’ on behalf of the government and top-level government officials, sometimes on their own initiative and without direct orders.

One source of human rights violations is the proliferation of private and semi-official ‘security’ companies. By some accounts, there are more than 300 private security companies in Luanda, with an effective force of more than 35,000 men, and some of these companies are owned by leading generals and top police officers and many have hired foot-soldiers from the civil war, i.e. men with war experience, ‘trigger happy’, and sometimes mental problems like war traumas and with few inhibitions against the use of violence (de Morais 2007).

The Angolan police and security apparatus include the Serviço de Investigação Criminal (SIC, Criminal Investigation Service) which is, as its predecessor the Direcção Nacional de Investigação Criminal (DNIC, National Directorate of Criminal Investigation) well known for human rights abuses in Angola (HRW 2020).[6]

Rule of Law

According to the Rule of Law Index 2020 (The World Justice Project 2020),[7] Angola scored 0.43 (on a scale from 0 to 1 with 1 indicating the strongest adherence to the rule of law) and the country is placed as number 110 of the 128 countries covered. Compared to 2019 index, Angola rose 4 positions in the ranking.

One issue can in particular illustrate this weakness of the rule of law in Angola. Prison and detention centre conditions are harsh and life-threatening due to overcrowding, a lack of medical care, corruption, and violence. Institutional weaknesses in the judicial system, such as political influence in the decision-making process, are additional problems (U.S. Department of State 2020: 3, 4, 6). The constitution and law provide for freedom of internal movement, foreign travel, emigration, and repatriation, but the government at times restricts these rights.  

There are numerous victims’ and eyewitnesses’ accounts of the cruel and degrading interrogation methods used in police stations and of the violence committed by prison guards, and according to Lucia Da Silveira, the vice president of the human rights organisation AJPD (Paz, Justicia y Democracia), “torture and police violence are extremely common in prisons”, and the human rights organisation Mãos Livres (Free Hands) has documented enforced disappearances and acts of torture against detainees.[8]

Reportedly, there are currently 600 female inmates, some of them pregnant, detained in Angola’s three female prisons (in Luanda, Benguela and Malanje), and at least forty children under the age of three “live in prison”, sharing cells with their imprisoned mothers.[9]

Freedom of the press

Angola is ranked 106th out of 180 countries in the 2020 World Press Freedom Index.[10] No reporters/journalists were killed in Angola in 2020. According to the organisation Reporters without Borders, the installation of a new president, João Lourenço, in September 2017 ended four decades of rule by the Santos family, but the four TV channels, 17 radio stations and 20 or so newspapers and magazines in Angola are still very largely controlled or influenced by the government and ruling party.

According to the Reporters without Borders,

Censorship and self-censorship, a hangover from the years of repression under the former regime, is still widespread. It was seen in the state media’s failure to report that opposition parliamentarians held up yellow cards during the president’s address to the nation in October 2019. Only a handful of radio stations and websites manage to produce independent and critical reporting. The exorbitant cost of radio and TV broadcast licences holds back pluralism and prevents the emergence of new media actors. A series of laws passed in 2016 force TV and radio stations to broadcast presidential addresses to the nation and facilitate criminal defamation suits. Encouraging signals were nonetheless seen in 2018 in the form of the acquittal of two investigative journalists on the grounds that they had an “obligation to report with complete objectivity” and the publication of opposition op-eds in state newspapers. However, the media continue to press for the decriminalization of press offences without success (RSF 2020).

According to Freedom House,

The Angolan state owns most media in the country. Many ostensibly private outlets are owned by senior officials of the MPLA and act as mouthpieces of the regime. Foreign news outlets, including Portuguese news agency Lusa, French news agency RFI, and Voice of America (VOA), are widely read. Since 2018, more voices have gained access to the media, including civil society groups and opposition figures, and news outlets have shown a greater willingness to carry criticism of the government.

Insult and defamation are both considered criminal offenses under the [revised penal] code that was enacted in January 2019. The criminal code also includes “abuse of press freedom,” a charge that can be levied against those accused of engaging in incitement, hate speech, defence of fascist or racist ideologies, or “fake news” (Freedom House 2020: D1).

Online activists and journalists are sporadically targeted with threats, though they face less violence and harassment than journalists who operate mainly in the traditional media sphere. No incidents of severe violence for online activities were reported during this report’s coverage period [2019] (ibid.: C7).

According to Maka Angola, however, the Angolan police have in 2020 harassed, arrested, and assaulted journalists.

At least six journalists and one media worker were arrested – with four held for more than two days – and another was harassed while covering anti-government protests by civil society groups and opposition parties in the capital, Luanda, on October 24 […] All those detained were released without charge.

Police forced two journalists from privately-owned Radio Essencial, Suely de Melo and Carlos Tome, photographer Santos Samuesseca of the radio station’s sister publication Valor Económico, and their driver, Leonardo Faustino, out of their car around 10:30 a.m. while the journalists were covering the protests […] The journalists had identified themselves to police as journalists on assignment. [… The] police beat the journalists and seized their cell phones and a camera. […] The four were beaten with batons and kicked by police: “Nothing broken, they were just bruised, terrified humiliated.

In a separate incident, two journalists who work for the private broadcaster TV Zimbo, Domingos Caiombo and Octávio Zoba, were detained and forced to delete their images of the protest on October 24, before they were released on the same day without charge.

In another incident, two journalists, freelancers Osvaldo Silva and Nsimba Jorge who contribute to the French news agency AFP, were assaulted and harassed by police during the protests. [… SIlva said that the] police hit him with their hands and truncheons, threw him on the ground and kicked him, and then bundled him into a police vehicle and confiscated his phone. He said he was taken to a police station and was released the same day but was unable to recover his phone until later. Silva said he returned to the protest, where police hit him on the buttocks, demanded his press credentials, and prevented him from taking photographs. Silva said he then left the protests. Nsimba told CPJ via messaging app that police wanted to confiscate his camera and when he resisted, they forced him to delete everything on his memory card; he said he was not detained.[11]

Legislative revisions are underway regarding the press, television, broadcasting, community radio and ERCA (Angolan Social Communication Regulatory Entity). There is also a draft law that provides for regulating the conduct and dissemination of opinion polls. All proposals were submitted to the National Assembly for consideration in September 2020, and the final decision is expected by the Ministry of Communication.

Local HR organisations

There are a number of long established local human rights organisations in Angola. The Mãos Livres - Associação de Juristas e Jornalistas na Defesa e Difusão dos Direitos Humanos e da Cidadania (ML, “Free Hands”) is a human rights defence NGO established in April 2000, initially backed by the UN Human Rights Division. It is an organisation that offers free legal assistance and defends and spread information about human rights in Angola.[12]

The Associação Justiça, Paz e Democracia (AJPD) was founded in May 2000 by Angolan university students, to promote human rights and the democratic rule of law in Angola.[13] The Associação OMUNGA works to “develop actions for the defence of human rights and has a campaign to encounter police violence.[14] The SOS Habitat - Acção Solidária[15] and the Associação Construindo Comunidades (ACC)[16] are human rights organisations mainly focussing on forced evictions. None of these organisations seem to publish any human rights overview reports on Angola on any regular basis, however.

In addition to these well-established human rights organisations, there are also a few newly formed organisations. Two of these are the Fundação 27 de Maio and the Associação M27, both drawing attention to the 27 May 1977 alleged “coup attempt” and MPLA/government’s violent response to what it claimed to be an attack against its leadership. During this event – generally referred to as “a limpeza” (the clean-up) – thousands of people were massacred or maltreated.[17] President Lourenço admitted recently that 27 May 1977 “is a delicate matter” because “on that occasion Angola lost some of its best children”, and he promised to “open a dialogue” to see how the deep wounds that remained could be repaired.[18]

Another relatively new organisation is the Friends of Angola (FOA),[19] a US based human rights advocacy organisation established in Washington, DC, in 2014 to raise the consciousness of the global community to the challenges facing Angola and to support Angolan civil society. The well-known activist and investigative journalist Rafael Morais (RAFRAMO) is the FOA director in Angola.[20]

According to their website, over the last two years (2019 and 2020),

Despite the reformist discourse of the current President of the Republic, in Angola there have been several facts that constitute a serious violation of human rights. Land evictions, arbitrary demolitions of houses, murders of citizens allegedly at the hands of national police officers, abductions, assaults and deaths of protesters, arrests of journalists, as well as the death of starving citizens, along with other worrying situations, have characterized the political and social reality of Angola.[21]

References

Amnesty International (2017): Report 2016/17 - Angola (https://www.refworld.org/docid/58b03426a.html).

Amnesty International (2020): Angola Overview (www.amnesty.org/en/countries/africa/angola/).

Amundsen, Inge (2014): Drowning in Oil. Angola's Institutions and the "Resource Curse", Journal of Comparative Politics, Vol. 46, no. 2, 2014, pp. 169-189.

Anderson, Liam (2019): Activists in Angola continue to face repression for online and offline activities, in Global Voices, 27 November 2019 (https://advox.globalvoices.org/2019/11/27/activists-in-angola-continue-to-face-repression-for-online-and-offline-activities/).

Brinkman, Inge (2003): War and Identity in Angola. Two Case-Studies. Lusotopie, vol. 10, 2003, pp. 195-221.

Collelo, Thomas (1991): Religious Life, in T. Collelo (ed.) (1991): Angola: A Country Study. Washington: GPO for the Library of Congress (http://countrystudies.us/angola/77.htm).

Croissant, Aurel (2020): Democracies with Preexisting Conditions and the Coronavirus in the Indo-Pacific Region. Special Forum article posted in The Asan Forum (www.theasanforum.org/democracies-with-preexisting-conditions-and-the-coronavirus-in-the-indo-pacific/).

Daldorph, Brenna (2014): Protests in Angola: 'Police are even torturing women now', FRANCE 24, 27 November 2014 (https://observers.france24.com/en/20141127-angola-luanda-police-torture-protest

de Morais, Rafael Marques (2007): Private Security Companies and a Parallel State in Angola, Africa Files, December 11, 2007 (www.africafiles.org/article.asp?ID=16918).

de Morais, Rafael Marques (2014): Religion and the State in Angola. Maka Angola, 27 April 2014 (www.makaangola.org/2014/04/religion-and-the-state-in-angola/).

EXX Africa (2020): EXX Africa Survey Forecasts Angola Spike an Unrest and Instability Risks. EXX Africa Business Risk Intelligence. (https://exxafrica.com/survey/angola/).

Fitzgibbon, Will (2020): After Luanda Leaks, a billionaire’s empire falls, but her enablers carry on. International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), Investigations/Luanda Leaks, December 7, 2020 (www.icij.org/investigations/luanda-leaks/after-luanda-leaks-a-billionaires-empire-falls-but-her-enablers-carry-on/).

FOA (2020): Repudiation note on citizen deaths by public security forces agents. 10 July 2020, Washington DC, Friends of Angola, by Rafael de Morais (www.friendsofangola.org/archives/11633).

Freedom House (2020): Angola. Freedom in the World report 2020. Washington, Freedom House (https://freedomhouse.org/country/angola/freedom-world/2020).

HRW (2018): Angola: Stop Abusive Expulsions of Migrants. Serious Abuses Alleged in Diamond Mining Crackdown. New York, Human Rights Watch, News, 15 November 2018 (www.hrw.org/news/2018/11/15/angola-stop-abusive-expulsions-migrants#).

HRW (2020a): Angola. Human Rights Watch, website summary on Angola (www.hrw.org/africa/angola).

HRW (2020b): World Report 2020: Angola. Events of 2019. Online report. New York, Human Rights Watch (www.hrw.org/world-report/2020/country-chapters/angola).

HRW (2020c): Angola: Police Fire on Peaceful Protesters. One Man Killed; Prominent Activists, Others Beaten. New York, Human Rights Watch, 12 November 2020  (www.hrw.org/news/2020/11/12/angola-police-fire-peaceful-protesters).

HRW (2021): Angola: Security Forces Kill Protesters in Lunda Norte Province. New York, Human Rights Watch, 4 February 2021 (www.hrw.org/news/2021/02/04/angola-security-forces-kill-protesters-lunda-norte-province).

IEU (2020): Democracy Index by country 2019. Economist Intelligence Unit (www.eiu.com/topic/democracy-index).

IRBC (2019): Angola: The Light of the World (Sétimo Dia a Luz do Mundo) Evangelical Church. Ottawa, Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRBC), 1 February 2019, document AGO106244.FE (https://irb-cisr.gc.ca/en/country-information/rir/Pages/index.aspx?doc=457959&pls=1).

IRRI (2018): Movement Restricted: Congolese refugees in Angola. International Refugee Rights Initiative (IRRI), March 2018 (https://reliefweb.int/sites/reliefweb.int/files/resources/Angola-DRC-paper-final.pdf).

Martíns, Vasco (2015): The plateau of trials: modern ethnicity in Angola. Thesis, Instituto Universitário de Lisboa, August 2015 (https://repositorio.iscte-iul.pt/bitstream/10071/11208/1/Vasco%20Martins%20The%20plateau%20of%20trials%20modern%20ethnicity%20in%20Angola.pdf).

MRGI (n.d.): ANGOLA: Bakongo and Cabindans. Web report. London, Minority Rights Group International, MRGI (https://minorityrights.org/minorities/bakongo-and-cabindans/).

NED (2019): Angola’s austerity likely to generate social unrest, civil society warns. DemDigest, 7 November 2019, National Endowment for Peace (www.demdigest.org/angolas-austerity-likely-to-generate-social-unrest-civil-society-warns/).

NRC (2018): Expulsion of Congolese from Angola aggravates dire crisis in Kasai. Norwegian Refugee Council, NRC, cited in ReliefWeb, 1 November 2018 (https://reliefweb.int/report/democratic-republic-congo/expulsion-congolese-angola-aggravates-dire-crisis-kasai).

Pawson, Laura (2014): In the Name of the People: Angola's Forgotten Massacre. London, Bloomsbury Academic Press.

Proletário, Domingos (2018): Qual é a diferença entre BAKONGO e CONGOLÊS? Nem todo BAKONGO é LANGA ou ZAIRENSE. Web commentary, Wizi-Kongo,com  (http://wizi-kongo.com/aprender-kikongo/qual-e-a-diferenca-entre-bakongo-e-congoles-nem-todo-bakongo-e-langa-ou-zairense/).

RSF (2020): Traditional media still under control. Reporters without borders (RSF) website entry on Angola (https://rsf.org/en/angola).

Sarró, R., R. Blanes and F. Viegas (2008): La Guerre Dans La Paix. Ethnicité Et Angolanité Dans l'église Kimbanguiste De Luanda. Politique Africaine, 2008, vol. 2, no. 110, pp. 84-101.

U4 (2011): Overview of corruption and anti-corruption in Angola. U4 Helpdesk Answer, U4 (Bergen) and Transparency International (Berlin). (www.u4.no/publications/overview-of-corruption-and-anti-corruption-in-angola).

UNHRC (2019): Concluding observations on the second periodic report of Angola. Geneva, UN Human Rights Committee (UNHRC), 8 May 2019 (https://tbinternet.ohchr.org/_layouts/15/treatybodyexternal/Download.aspx?symbolno=CCPR/C/AGO/CO/2&Lang=En).

U.S. Department of State (2020), Angola 2019 Human Rights Report (Washington: U.S. Department of State, April 2020 (www.state.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/ANGOLA-2019-HUMAN-RIGHTS-REPORT.pdf).

U.S. Department of State (2018): Angola 2018 International Religious Freedom Report. Washington: U.S. Department of State (www.state.gov/reports/2018-report-on-international-religious-freedom/angola/).

V-Dem (2020): Pandemic Backsliding: Does Covid-19 Put Democracy at Risk? Gothenburg, V-Dem Institute Policy Brief No. #23, 2020 by Anna Lührmann, Amanda B. Edgell, and Seraphine F. Maerz (https://www.v-dem.net/media/filer_public/52/eb/52eb913a-b1ad-4e55-9b4b-3710ff70d1bf/pb_23.pdf). See also the online dashboard at: www.v-dem.net/en/analysis/PanDem/ (Angola).

World Justice Project (2020): Rule of Law Index 2020. Online resource (https://worldjusticeproject.org/sites/default/files/documents/WJP-ROLI-2020-Online_0.pdf).

 

Notes

[1] This update only covers civic and political rights. For a status on social, economic, cultural, minority rights etc. see the relevant HR organisation reports.

[2] It is noteworthy that is was with this backdrop that the Government in April 2020 instituted the National Award of Human Rights (Presidential Decree 95/20) and approved the National Strategy for Human Rights (Presidential Decree 100/20), and presented these as elements for “a participatory process of creating public policies in this domain”. The National Strategy aims to make Angola “achieve adulthood in what concerns human rights and avoid international interference”.

[3] VoA, 7 Sept 2020: Morte de médico detido pela polícia abala Angola. VoA (Voice of America newsagency, in Portuguese). (www.voaportugues.com/a/morte-de-m%C3%A9dico-detido-pela-pol%C3%ADcia-abala-angola/5574209.html).

[4] RTP Noticias, 22 February 2021: Estudantes angolanos denunciam detenções em Luanda em tentativa de manifestação (https://www.rtp.pt/noticias/mundo/estudantes-angolanos-denunciam-detencoes-em-luanda-em-tentativa-de-manifestacao_n1299322). After this, a note of disapproval against this police brutality was published by six Professors of the Department of Sociology, which propmed an emergency meeting with the Rectorate where the Rectorate expressed their discontent (personal testimony from one witness).

[5] See also the video by Human Rights Watch (2017): Video: Police Beat Protesters, Threaten them with Dogs in Angola (www.youtube.com/watch?v=AOX3d5gS-2E&feature=emb_logo).

[6] In 2015, the SIC merged and replaced DNIC and the National Directorate of Inspection. While the ordinary police is mandated to prevent crime, the SIC is investigating serious crime, inspired by the famous French Police Judiciaire. The SIC leader is appointed by the President of the Republic, and the SIC is (and previously the DNIC was) the unit responsible for most of the reported human rights abuse in Angola.

[7] The World Justice Project is the world’s leading source for original, independent data on the rule of law. Covering 128 countries and jurisdictions, the index relies on national surveys of more than 130,000 households and 4,000 legal practitioners and experts to measure how the rule of law is experienced and perceived worldwide.

[8] Sources: France 24/The Observers, 28 August 2013: Video shot in an Angolan prison reveals guards’ cruelty (https://observers.france24.com/en/20130828-video-angolan-prison-guards-barbarity) and FIDH/OMCT 2015: 19. See also Maka Angola, 22 January 2016: Luanda central jail’s torture chamber: the re-education room (www.makaangola.org/2016/01/luanda-central-jail%C2%92s-torture-chamber-the-re-education-room/), and DW, 13 November 2020: Estado angolano será alvo de processo por morte de jovem manifestante (www.dw.com/pt-002/estado-angolano-ser%C3%A1-alvo-de-processo-por-morte-de-jovem-manifestante/a-55597730).

[9] Novo Jornal, 21 March 2021: Quarenta crianças, com menos de três anos, "vivem na prisão" (https://novojornal.co.ao/sociedade/interior/quarenta-criancas-vivem-presas-nas-cadeias-do-pais-101406.html).

[10] See: https://rsf.org/en/ranking.

[11] Cited from: Maka Angola, 28 October 2020: Angolan police detain, harass, and beat journalists covering protests (www.makaangola.org/2020/10/angolan-police-detain-harass-and-beat-journalists-covering-protests/). The arrests were also covered by RSF, 28 October 2020: Crackdown on reporters covering Luanda demonstration (https://rsf.org/en/news/crackdown-reporters-covering-luanda-demonstration).

[12] Facebook: www.facebook.com/groups/maolivre/about.

[13] Website: www.ajpdangola.co.

[14] Website: www.omunga.org.

[15] Facebook: www.facebook.com/pages/category/Non-Governmental-Organization--NGO-/SOS-Habitat-110902587412421/.

[16] Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ACC-Comunidades-607474692784511/.

[17] Some 30,000 people were killed, according to Amnesty International. For an account and analysis of the events, see Wikipedia:  1977 Angolan coup d'état attempt (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1977_Angolan_coup_d%27%C3%A9tat_attempt) and Pawson (2014).

[18] Source: DW (Deutsche Welle), 29 November 2018: "Associação M27" saúda palavras de Presidente de Angola sobre "Caso 27 de Maio" (www.dw.com/pt-002/associa%C3%A7%C3%A3o-m27-sa%C3%BAda-palavras-de-presidente-de-angola-sobre-caso-27-de-maio/a-46508525). See also VoA (Voice of America Português), 14 December 2020: Fundação 27 de Maio acusa representante da antiga DISA de paralisação dos trabalhos (www.voaportugues.com/a/funda%C3%A7%C3%A3o-27-de-maio-acusa-representante-da-antiga-dina-de-paralisa%C3%A7%C3%A3o-dos-trabalhos/5699176.html), VoA, 27 May 2019: "Órfãos do 27 de Maio" pedem restos mortais dos pais (www.voaportugues.com/a/%C3%B3rf%C3%A3os-do-27-de-maio-pedem-restos-mortais-dos-pais/4934185.html) and Angola24Horas, 16 June 2020: É preciso abrir os arquivos da DISA", diz dirigente da Fundação 27 de Maio (www.angola24horas.com/sociedade/item/17562-e-preciso-abrir-os-arquivos-da-disa-diz-dirigente-da-fundacao-27-de-maio).

[19] Friends of Angola (FOA) is a US based human rights advocacy organization established in Washington, DC, in 2014 to raise the consciousness of the global community to the challenges facing Angola and to support Angolan civil society. The well-known activist and investigative journalist Rafael Morais is the FOA director in Angola (see www.friendsofangola.org/ and www.makaangola.org/).

[20] See www.friendsofangola.org and www.makaangola.org, and also www.radioangola.org.

[21] Cited from: Friends of Angola, 9 December 2020: Comunicado em Alusão ao 72º Aniversário dos Direitos Humanos (www.friendsofangola.org/archives/11816).