Angola Human Rights

Human Rights Concerns

Angola is an oil-rich nation in southern Africa emerged from a decades' long civil war as 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.

A wave of protests that began in early 2011 continues to thrive in the face of government restrictions on freedom of assembly and expression. Peaceful protesters in Angola are openly at risk of arbitrary arrests and police brutality. In November 2013, Manuel Hilberto de Carvalho, a 28-year-old opposition activist, was killed by presidential guards after being detained for putting up posters about the enforced disappearance of António Alves Kamulingue and Isaías Sebastião Cassule. The two activists and war veterans were abducted in May 2012, reportedly for organizing protests demanding fair pensions. In December 2013, the Prosecutor General’s office confirmed the two activists had been killed by state agents.

Angola continues to imprison people for crimes against the security of the state in an effort by the government to repress political dissension. 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. The story of Nito Alves, a 17-year-old teenager, showcases the violent measures often used by the government against those who dare to oppose it. Alves was arrested in early September 2013 and held without charge for over two months for ordering 20 T-shirts with slogans against the Angolan president. While in prison, Nito Alves was kept it in solitary confinement for about three weeks, shared cells with adult prisoners, and had no access to medical care despite his deteriorating health. He was released shortly after starting a hunger strike to protest against poor prison conditions, but his trial is still pending. In February 2014, the radio journalist Queirós Chiluvia was convicted for slander and defamation after inquiring about screams coming from inside a police station in Luanda.

Angola re-elected President Eduardo dos Santos in 2012 to another term of office in elections deemed free and fair by the international community but skewed strongly in his favor due to constitutional changes and institutional issues such as access to media.