Annual Report: Angola 2010

Report
May 28, 2010

Annual Report: Angola 2010

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Head of state José Eduardo dos Santos
Head of government António Paulo Kassoma
Death penalty abolitionist for all crimes
Population 18.5 million
Life expectancy 46.5 years
Under-5 mortality (m/f) 220/189 per 1,000
Adult literacy 67.4 per cent

The government continued to make commitments towards the provision of social housing. However, forced evictions persisted, including one of the largest carried out in recent years. Extrajudicial executions, excessive use of force, arbitrary arrests and detentions, and torture and other ill-treatment by police were reported. Human rights organizations faced less intimidation, although journalists were harassed and prosecuted for their work.

Background

In September, President José Eduardo dos Santos marked 30 years as head of state. Presidential elections expected in 2009 were further postponed pending approval of a new Constitution. Three types of constitutional models were proposed and drafts of these were circulated for public debate. One version would allow for the President to be elected directly by parliament. No decisions on the models had been made by the end of the year. In December, President dos Santos announced that elections would probably not be held for another three years.

Heavy rains at the beginning of the year caused floods in many parts of the country. Tens of thousands of people lost their homes, including an estimated 25,000 people in the southern province of Cunene in March.

In September, Angola agreed a deal with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for loans of up to US$890 million.

Right to adequate housing – forced evictions

In July, the government announced that it would exempt some imported building materials from taxes in a bid to make housing more affordable for the poor. The same month it was announced that the USA would lend Angola US$400 million to help it build 1 million homes for the poor in the next five years.

Despite these initiatives, forced evictions continued. In July, over 3,000 families (an estimated 15,000 people) were forcibly evicted from the neighbourhoods of Bagdad and Iraque in Luanda. These evictions were on a larger scale than those seen in recent years. Government officials justified their actions by stating that those forcibly evicted had illegally occupied and built homes on land earmarked by the government for development. However, some of those evicted said that they had legal title to the land. There were also forced evictions in Benguela province and tens of thousands of families remained at risk of forced eviction throughout the country.

Police

The police continued to carry out human rights violations, including excessive use of force and extrajudicial executions. Few officers were brought to justice and little information was made available about action taken against police for past human rights violations.