Angola Human Rights
Human Rights Concerns
Angola is an oil rich nation in southern Africa rising from a decades' long civil war to become an emerging force in the world economic market. While the government's human rights record shows improvement since the end of the war in 2002, there remain areas of serious concern. Rapid economic development has improved the lives of many Angolans but also led to issues of corruption, unchecked urbanization, concerns regarding political freedom and democratization and increasing wealth disparity. Angolans will go to the polls in 2012 for presidential elections, which must be free, fair and without political violence.
Presidential elections are slated to occur this year and it is unclear whether current president Jose Eduardo do Santos will again run for office, or step aside to allow another to run as the MPLA party candidate. As the second longest serving head of state in Africa at 32 years and counting, dos Santos faces a fractured opposition (UNITAS) unlikely to mount a serious challenge. During 2011, activists predominantly composed of students, staged several demonstrations in the capital of Luanda, demanding greater democratic freedoms. Whether such efforts will continue and any effect they may have on government policy is to be seen.
Despite several statements by President dos Santos of a commitment to assure adequate housing for all Angolans, forced evictions continue. 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.
Angola continues to inhibit freedom of expression, imprisoning people for crimes against the security of the state in an effort by the government to repress political dissension. In 2011, Amnesty International documented at least 28 persons imprisoned while engaged in peaceful dissent. Angola modified its security law, however the new legislation continues to make it a criminal offence to insult the Republic, the President or any organ of power of the state.