Head of state and government José Eduardo dos Santos
Police and security forces continued to use excessive force, including against peaceful demonstrators, as well as to carry out arbitrary arrests and detentions. Freedom of assembly was suppressed throughout the country. Two people were feared to have been subjected to enforced disappearance. Freedom of expression was restricted and the press was censored. There were reports of forced evictions.
In April Angola presented its human rights report to the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights.
A new political party, the Broad Convergence for the Salvation of Angola-Electoral Coalition (Convergência Ampla de Salvação de Angola-Coligação Eleitoral, CASA-CE), was registered by the Constitutional Court in April. CASA-CE took part in national elections on 31 August, which were the second elections since 1992 and the third since independence in 1975. Prior to the elections, there were reports of sporadic political violence by members of the ruling People’s Movement for the Liberation of Angola (Movimento Popular de Libertação de Angola, MPLA) against the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (União Nacional para a Independência Total de Angola, UNITA), CASA-CE and other political parties, as well as of UNITA against MPLA. The MPLA won with almost 72% of votes, with about 40% of the population abstaining from voting. Although a number of irregularities were registered prior to the elections, observers judged the elections as free and fair. The results were officially contested by UNITA, CASA-CE and the Social Renewal Party (PRS), but the challenges were rejected as unfounded by Angola’s National Electoral Committee (CNE).
On 27 October, Media Investe, the company that owns the weekly newspaper Semanário Angolense, censored one edition reportedly because it contained a speech on the state of the nation by UNITA leader Isaías Samakuva which was critical of the government. Although printed versions of the newspaper were burned, an online version was circulated.
There were reports of excessive use of force and arbitrary arrests and detentions by the police, including of peaceful demonstrators. Police also reportedly used excessive force against detainees, resulting in at least one death. There were also suspected cases of extrajudicial executions by police, including of seven young men found handcuffed and shot in Cacuaco municipality, Luanda. No further information was made publicly available regarding investigations into alleged past cases of human rights violations by police.
Authorities continued to suppress freedom of assembly throughout the country. Anti-government demonstrations which started in March 2011 continued into 2012 and took place mainly in Luanda, Benguela and Cabinda. As in 2011, police not only failed to intervene to prevent violence against those peacefully demonstrating, but also reportedly used excessive force against demonstrators, some of whom were arbitrarily arrested and detained. Police further used excessive force during strikes, including by the Union of Health Workers in Cabinda, and during a demonstration by the war veterans of the People’s Armed Forces for the Liberation of Angola (FAPLA) in Luanda. No one was held responsible for excessive use of force and arbitrary arrests during demonstrations in 2011.
Freedom of association was restricted.
Freedom of expression, particularly of the press, continued to be suppressed. Attempts were made to prevent publication of newspapers or articles which were seen as potentially anti-government. There were no further developments in the appeals by Armando Chicoca and William Tonet, convicted of defamation in 2011.
At least two cases of suspected enforced disappearances were reported during the year.
Despite government talks to improve access to housing, small-scale forced evictions continued and thousands of people remained at risk. Thousands of families forcibly evicted in the past remained without compensation. The government undertook in June 2011 to rehouse by April 2012 over 450 families in Luanda whose homes were demolished between 2004 and 2006, but none had been rehoused by the end of the year. In September, UN Habitat announced that it was preparing to sign a co-operation agreement with Angola to send a representative to the country to provide technical advisory services for housing in Luanda from 2013.
Two members of the Commission of the Legal Sociological Manifesto of the Lunda Tchokwe Protectorate, Mário Muamuene and Domingos Capenda, who remained in Kakanda prison despite the expiry of their sentence on 9 October 2011, were released on 17 January 2012.
Despite the November 2011 conclusion by the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention calling for the release of members of the Commission detained between 2009 and 2011, five members – Sérgio Augusto, Sebastião Lumani, José Muteba, António Malendeca and Domingos Henrique Samujaia – remained in prison. There were further reported arrests of Commission members during the year.