Ver Angola


US identified arbitrary arrests and restrictions on press freedom in Angola

Restrictions on freedom of the press and expression, violence against journalists, arbitrary arrests, abuses by security forces and a sense of impunity were some of the problems identified in Angola by the US State Department in 2022.


The report by the government department of the United States of America (USA), released this Monday, pointed to several violations in the field of human rights in Angola last year, noting that it was an election year – in which the MPLA, the party in power since independence in 1975, it has won with 51 percent of the vote.

Despite noting that the voting took place in general in a "peaceful and credible" way, the document points out some shortcomings such as the lack of an independent National Electoral Commission and the lack of transparency of the electoral process, in which the coverage of the Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) was "biased" and broader than that of the other parties.

The US government department also identified abuses committed by law enforcement and arbitrary, extrajudicial and unlawful killings.

He also pointed to arbitrary arrests and poor conditions in prisons, which put detainees at risk of death due to overcrowding, lack of medical assistance, corruption and violence.

Angolan prisons had a total capacity of 21,000 prisoners, but held approximately 25,000 detainees, of which around 10,000 were in pre-trial detention.

At issue, in the report, are also restrictions on freedom of expression and the press, including violence, threats of violence or unjustified arrests of journalists, as well as acts of censorship and defamation proceedings.

News about corruption, bad governance, abuses and human rights violations were the main reasons for attacks against journalists, which occurred with impunity.

"Journalists reported more incidents of violence, harassment and intimidation compared to the previous year. Other journalists reported harassment by authorities while covering peaceful demonstrations and election rallies," the document reads.

Journalists who covered issues related to land occupations, evictions and demolitions were also targeted, with cases of press professionals who were surrounded and attacked and were left without their equipment.

According to non-governmental and civil society sources, the police arbitrarily arrested people who participated or were about to participate in anti-government protests. These detainees were usually released after a few hours, but were sometimes charged with crimes.

According to the report, while the Government generally respects the independence and impartiality of the judiciary, the judicial system was also affected by institutional weaknesses, including political interference in the decision-making process, and there were also reports of political prisoners, such as Luther King activists and the leader of the Lunda Norte Portuguese Protectorate Movement, José Mateus "Zecamutchima", recently released.

"The Government has taken significant steps towards identifying, investigating, prosecuting and punishing those responsible for abuses, as well as those involved in corruption", stressed the State Department.

However, "accountability for human rights abuses was limited due to the lack of checks and balances, lack of institutional capacity, a culture of impunity and government corruption", it is pointed out.

Another aspect highlighted is the forced demolitions or expropriation of land without compensation or legal proceedings, as happened in the land adjacent to the new airport in Luanda.

The report noted that dealing with documentation relating to land ownership "takes years", meaning that many people do not have title to the land or houses where they have lived for several years.

In the field of gender equality, the document focused on the lack of investigation and accountability of perpetrators of acts of violence, as well as crimes against lesbian, homosexual, bisexual, transgender and intersex people.


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