REF. OM/ __ 209 __ /10
LOBITO, 24th August 2010
C/C: His Excellency the President of the National Assembly - LUANDA
His Excellency the Secretary of State for Human Rights - LUANDA
His Excellency the Attorney-General of the Republic - LUANDA
His Excellency the Ombudsman - LUANDA
His Excellency UN’s Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Opinion and Expression - GENEVA
His Excellency UN’s Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders - GENEVA

Her Excellency,
The Minister of Justice, Angola Government
Our best regards.
It was with great concern that the organization OMUNGA examined the article entitled “Plan to declare illegal the most “inconvenient” is in the making - Human rights organizations ignored", published on page 33 of Issue 593, Year 8, from 21st to 28th August 2010, of the Angolense newspaper.
At a certain point, the article highlights the following: “The creation of the referred list, according to sources closely following the government file, aims to lead to the illegalization of certain organizations which were not included in the list, in particular those that have been fighting for the respect of human rights in Angola". The opening paragraph reads the following: “ (...) there is a long list circulating among the members of the Angolan government containing hundreds of organizations, registered between 1990 and 2009. Strangely enough, the list, which Omunga had access to, lacked many well-know organizations fighting to promote and defend human rights, such as Association Justice, Peace and Democracia, Free Hands and Omunga, to cite only a few".
This being, OMUNGA feels the need to ask Her Excellency Minister of Justice to clarify if this list truthfully exists. It also demands clarifications on the purpose of the referred list, in case its existence is indeed confirmed.
OMUNGA reminds Your Excellencies that on the 10th July 2010, Angola, in the person of His Excellency Georges Rebelo Chikoty, adopted, before the United Nations’ Human Rights Council, in Geneva, most of the 166 recommendations made during the Universal Periodic Review. We highlight the following:
To maintain an open dialogue with human rights defenders, in particular in Cabinda, where, following the recent and condemnable attack against Togo's football team, human rights defenders appear to have been arrested without evidence of their complicity (Norway);

To adopt and strengthen measures to protect human rights defenders (Ireland);

To guarantee the full protection and legitimacy of human rights defenders, in accordance with UN's Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Slovakia);

To clarify the procedures to establish and recognize non-governmental associations and organizations, and to guarantee their participation in the reform process (France);

To guarantee the transparency, non-discrimination and promptness of the procedures to register civil society organizations (Norway);

To guarantee that opposition parties and civil society organizations are allowed to participate freely in the political process, without fearing retaliations (Canada);

To respect the activities carried out by civil society organizations, and to guarantee that none of the actions carried out to regulate human rights organizations are politically motivated, but that they are based in legal provisions, consistent with international human rights standards (United Kingdom);

We remind Your Excellencies that, at that time, before the Great Assembly of the Human Rights Council, His Excellency Georges Chikoty underlined the following: “ (...) today, thanks to the experiences lived throughout the different periods of our history, Angola has started a new cycle that we’re very proud of, marked by the approval of a new Constitution which, firstly, marks the end of the transition period. Secondly, it conclusively establishes the idea of the Democratic State and the Rule of Law and, thirdly, it favors human rights as a structural factor of Angola’s growth and development”.
Angola, for the second time, takes up one of the seats of the Human Rights Council. At the time of his re-election, His Excellency the Angolan Ambassador to UN voiced the following on the United Nations radio: “Our priority is to continue fighting to increase respect for Human Rights, not only in Africa, but all over the world. We believe that this is a goal that belongs to all of us. Indeed, it is necessary to improve the Human Rights situation at international level. We believe in our ability to be part of this struggle, however, it needs to start within ourselves. We, in Angola, will do what we can in order to progress, not to become an example, but to become the country that values and respects Human Rights. It will start within the Angolan people and, naturally, it will share a positive image with the rest of the world".
During the 42nd Session, the Human Rights Council approved Resolution 13/13, “Protecting Human Rights Defenders”, which, under number 7, urges the states to "abstain from any form of discrimination based on race, color, sex, language, religion, political opinion or any other opinion, national or social origin, wealth, birth or any other case, against human rights defenders, and to carefully avoid any discriminatory action against them, including intimidation, profiling, seizure of assets, suspending operations, including to keep them away from the consultation process at national level”.
This being, OMUNGA demands public clarifications from Her Excellency Minister of Justice, and from the remaining institutions to which this letter is addressed, about the referred subject. It also asks the Human Rights Council and UN’s Special Rapporteurs on Freedom of Opinion and Expression and on Human Rights Defenders to monitor the evolution of the freedom of opinion and protection and to guarantee the protection of human rights defenders’ activities in Angola.
We are aware that Her Excellency Minister of Justice will give due importance to the referred subject. Please accept our best regards.

José A. M. Patrocínio

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