On February 27th, the National Union of Higher Education Teachers (SINPES) in Angola started a strike demanding better working conditions and fulfillment of the promises made by the government. Since the beginning of the strike, union leaders – including general secretary Eduardo Peres Alberto- and their relatives have been the target of death threats. On April 25th, Eduardo Peres Alberto’s daughter was attacked on the street by unidentified men who used a toxic chemical. The Angolan authorities must promptly, thoroughly, impartially, independently, transparently, and effectively investigate both the attack and death threats and ensure the Union leaders’ right to unionize and strike is protected.
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Marcy Cláudio Lopes
Casarão da Justiça, Rua 17 de Setembro
Gombota, Luanda, LU, Angola
E-mail: [email protected] [email protected]
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
Dear Minister Marcy Lopes,
I am writing to express concern for the safety of members of the National Union of Higher Education Teachers
(SINPES), including its secretary general, Eduardo Peres Alberto and his daughter, Maria Peres Alberto.
On 27 February, the SINPES started a strike to demand better work conditions and fulfilment of promises made by the government to them in 2021. On March 28th, Eduardo Peres Alberto received a text message – “You’re going too far with the strike, then don’t say you weren’t warned.” On the same day, his eldest daughter, Maria Peres Alberto, received a message warning her to “Tell [her] father to stop the strike otherwise we will attack”. On April 3rd, an envelope was left at Eduardo Peres Alberto’s house in Luanda, Angola’s capital, containing a photo of Maria Peres Alberto with a black cross. A week later, on April 10th, unidentified men broke the window of Eduardo Peres Alberto’s house and sent a message to his daughter: “Did you see the scare? Next time we will kill.” The break-ins and all the threats were reported to the police, however, to date, no investigation has been launched, nor measures put in place to protect the union leaders, members and their relatives. On April 25th, Maria Peres Alberto was attacked in the street close to her home by unidentified individuals, who threw a toxic chemical cannister at her which caused serious health complications, forcing her to be hospitalized for about 17 days. On May 10, while in hospital, she received a text message from an unknown number stating that they knew where she was being hospitalized. Concerned about her safety and security, the doctors recommended that she continue her treatment at home.
Under international law and Article 51 of its Constitution, Angola has an obligation to respect, protect, promote, and fulfil the human rights of everyone including workers and to ensure that they realize their rights to unionize and strike without fear of harm and reprisals.
I urge you to carry out an effective investigation into the attack against Maria Peres Alberto and the death threats against her, Eduardo Peres Alberto, and other SINPES leaders, ensuring the suspected perpetrators are brought to justice in fair trials.