Human Rights Watch Statement
UPR outcome report on Angola
June 10, 2010
Human Rights Watch welcomes the UPR report on Angola, which includes important recommendations regarding freedom of expression and association; the protection of human rights defenders; arbitrary detention; torture and other ill-treatment; forced evictions and adequate housing; and constructive cooperation with the OHCHR and the Special Procedures. We particularly welcome recommendations from France, Brazil, the Czech Republic, Spain and Slovakia to Angola to extend an open and standing invitation to all special procedures (paras, 36-39).
Human Rights Watch is concerned about the continuation of restrictions on the right to freedom of expression, particularly of media freedom and to seek, receive and impart information of all kinds, as well as restrictions on the rights to freedom of assembly and association. Angola should accept recommendations of the Czech Republic, Norway, the United States and the United Kingdom (paras. 100-104) to undertake the necessary steps to ensure freedom of the press, and of Slovakia, France, Canada and the United Kingdom to guarantee full protection of human rights defenders and freedom of association and take the swift and necessary reforms to address these concerns as a matter of priority.
Human Rights Watch is particularly concerned about arbitrary and politically motivated arrests of prominent human rights defenders, civic activists and government critics in the enclave province of Cabinda, including Father Raúl Tati and lawyer Francisco Luemba, both of whom have been detained on national security charges since January 2010. Recently, the authorities banned a peaceful public demonstration calling for their release. We call upon the Angolan government to ensure due process in those cases and to cease justifying unlawful restrictions on the rights to freedom of expression and assembly on the separatist conflict in Cabinda, as recommended by Norway (para. 104). We urge Angola to urgently ratify the Convention against Torture, as recommended by a number of states. We also encourage the Angolan Parliament and Constitutional Court to immediately revise abusive
national security laws in accordance with the constitution and international human rights law.
Human Rights Watch is deeply concerned about an increasing wave of mass forced evictions without adequate compensation or alternative housing in Luanda, Huila and Benguela since July 2009. In that context, Human Rights Watch is alarmed by the government’s practice of obstruction or unlawful ban of public demonstrations that have been organized by local human rights organizations against such evictions. Human Rights Watch is deeply concerned about police inaction to official complaints of harassment and threats targeting a human rights defender,Luiz Araújo of the local housing rights group SOS Habitat, who has been addressing forced evictions. Angola should promptly accept and implement recommendations made by Spain, Uruguay and other states to urgently establish transparent compensation procedures, to protect persons from arbitrary forced eviction and to provide for alternative housing for the poor.
Human Rights Watch is hopeful that the government of Angola will demonstrate a sustained commitment to the Council to which Angola was reelected for a second term by taking concrete steps to improve its human rights record. The responsiveness of Angola to the many crucial recommendations expressed during the UPR will therefore be a test to assess its approach to human rights protection