05/13/2020

Urgent Action: Activists Facing Harassment and Intimidation (Angola: UA 71.20)


Members of the non-governmental organization Mission of Beneficence Agriculture of Kubando, Inclusive Technologies and Environment (MBAKITA) are facing harassment and intimidation, including death threats and attacks, in Cuando Cubango province, Southern Angola, because of their work for the defense and promotion of the rights of people from ethnic minorities in Southern Angola.

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Minister Francisco Manuel Monteiro de Queiroz
Honorable Minister of Justice and Human Rights
Due to postal restrictions caused by COVID-19, please only send physical mail to the Embassy Email: [email protected]
Ambassador Joaquim do Espirito Santo
Embassy of the Republic of Angola
2100-2108 16th St. NW, Washington DC 20009
Phone: 202 785 1156 I Fax: 202 822 9049
Email: [email protected]
Contact Form: https://bit.ly/2OHNKTM
Salutation: Dear Ambassador

Honorable Minister,

I am concerned that members of the non-governmental organization MBAKITA are being targeted with increasing acts of intimidation, death threats and attacks. I believe that these acts are being carried out to prevent members of MBAKITA from doing their work for the defense and promotion of the rights of people from ethnic minorities and to denounce corruption.

Unidentified armed men broke into the house of Pascoal Baptistiny, executive director of MBAKITA, on 17 and 23 April, and 11, 12 and 13 May. The men entered into Pascoal Baptistiny’s home, tied the hands of the two security guards and took several items of electronic equipment, including three computers, a video camera, memory cards and cell phones. These are only the most recent incidents in a series of attacks that Pascoal Baptistiny and MBAKITA activists have endured.

MBAKITA activists have also regularly received anonymous death threats and intimidating phone calls, with messages such as: “We know Mr. Pascoal… if you continue to report on San people’s issues, you and your family may disappear”; “The office will be raided and you won’t be able to do anything about it, so don’t waste your time reporting to the police”; “Stop this, or you will die and your family too”; “The indigenous community does not need any savior”. Fearing further reprisals, 17 MBAKITA activists stopped working for the organization in April 2020.

MBAKITA has filed several complaints at Menongue police station regarding death threats, harassment and intimidating anonymous calls in 2018, 2019 and 2020. However, no measure has been taken so far to ensure their protection.

I urge you to take all appropriate measures to ensure that Pascoal Baptistiny and other MBAKITA activists are provided with adequate protection, in accordance with their wishes and in consultation with them, so that they can continue their work freely without fear of reprisals; carry out a prompt, thorough, independent and impartial investigation into the attacks, death threats and intimidation against Pascoal Baptistiny and other MBAKITA activists; and ensure a safe and supportive environment for human rights defenders, allowing them to peacefully continue their work.

Yours sincerely,

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

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