The Angolan government’s decision to rehouse hundreds of victims of forced evictions is a landmark step for people living in informal settlements, Amnesty International said today.
More than 450 people in the capital Luanda, whose homes were demolished between 2004 and 2006 to make way for luxury apartments, are to be rehoused from September, the government said earlier this week.
“While this announcement is a welcome step for victims of forced evictions, the Angolan authorities must end the forced evictions that are still taking place in the country. It is also crucial that people in other parts of the country, whose homes have been demolished, are also rehoused”, said Tawanda Hondora, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for Africa.
“The authorities must ensure that their promise to rehouse victims of forced evictions is not simply put on the backburner – as has happened in the past – but is actually implemented come September. The government must guarantee that in the event of any further evictions, the relocation of residents is agreed and implemented before the demolitions take place,” he added.
The construction of luxury homes for 20,000 people in Luanda, Project Nova Vida, began in 2006. In the run-up to this process, between 2004 and 2006, thousands of families were forcibly evicted from informal settlements. The evictions took place in the neighbourhoods of Banga Wé, Cambamba I, Cambamba II and 28 de Agosto. All of these are located in the Luanda suburb of Kilamba Kiaxi.
Forced evictions in Angola have typically been carried out without prior notification or consultation with local inhabitants and have left tens of thousands without shelter.
Excessive use of force by police officers have been a consistent feature of the evictions and several people have been injured.
In most cases armed members of the National Police or Armed Forces of Angola (Forças Armadas de Angola, FAA) who carried out the evictions, shot indiscriminately at those being evicted, beat them, and arrested those who tried to resist the evictions.
Houses were demolished and property destroyed or stolen by those carrying out the forced evictions.
In almost all the incidents of forced evictions police arrested human rights defenders, especially members of the local housing rights organization, SOS-Habitat.