Several people were arrested and accused of crimes against the state. Some remained in detention without trial. Two prisoners of conscience and several possible prisoners of conscience were convicted of crimes against the security of the state. Forced evictions continued to be carried out. Several planned demonstrations were arbitrarily prohibited. Police officers were brought to justice in at least one case of extrajudicial execution, but police continued to violate human rights. Despite an agreement between Angola and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) to stop mass expulsions of the other country’s nationals, Angola continued these expulsions, during which human rights violations were committed.
On 8 January, the Togo football team was attacked in Cabinda as it travelled to play in the African Cup of Nations football tournament being hosted by Angola. Two people were killed and several injured during the attack. A faction of the Front for the Liberation of the Cabinda State, FLEC/PM, claimed responsibility for the attack, stating that it did not intend to attack the team, only the Angolan Armed Forces members (FAA) escorting the team. A few days later another faction, FLEC-Fac, reportedly also claimed responsibility. Two men, João António Puati and Daniel Simbai, were arrested on suspicion of carrying out the attack. João António Puati was convicted and sentenced to 24 years’ imprisonment for the attack, while Daniel Simbai was acquitted. At least 14 others were arrested following the attack, although not accused directly of carrying it out. There were further attacks by FLEC in Cabinda during 2010.
In January, parliament approved a new Constitution which provides for the President to be elected by parliament. The Constitution also allows President dos Santos, who has been in office for over 30 years, to serve two more five-year terms. In addition, it replaces the Prime Minister with a Vice-President selected by the President.
In September, the Angolan Bar Association asked the Constitutional Court to rule on the legality of Article 26 of the Law on crimes against the security of the state. The article stated that “all and every act, not foreseen in the law that puts at risk or could put at risk the security of the state will be punishable”. In December the Court decided it did not have to make a ruling on this due to a new Law on crimes against the security of the state approved by parliament in November. The new law repeals Article 26 of the old law, but makes it a criminal offence to insult the Republic, the President or any organ of power of the state.
In February, Angola’s human rights record was assessed under the UN Universal Periodic Review. In September Angola presented its report to the Committee on the Rights of the Child.Top of page
In October, President dos Santos reiterated the government’s commitment to enabling Angolan families to obtain their own houses and in November he launched a slum restoration project. Despite this, forced evictions continued in the capital, Luanda and there were large-scale forced evictions in Huíla province. There were also threats of forced evictions in other parts of the country.
In March, seven police officers were convicted and sentenced to 24 years’ imprisonment by the Luanda Provincial Court for killing eight youths in the Largo da Frescura area of Luanda in July 2008. However, many police officers continued to violate human rights with impunity.
Despite provisions of the new Constitution guaranteeing the right to demonstrate peacefully without the need for authorization, this right was denied on a number of occasions.
In June, the President of the Constitutional Court stated that Angolan national law does not require prior authorization from administrative authorities for demonstrations to occur. However, authorities continued to prevent peaceful demonstrations.Top of page
Between January and April, at least 14 people were arrested in Cabinda on charges related to the January attack on the Togo football team. Two were prisoners of conscience and a number of others were possible prisoners of conscience. Seven were released without charge, while the others were charged with crimes against the security of the state. Of these one had the charges dropped after seven months’ detention, another was acquitted, while five were convicted but later released due to the repeal of article 26 of the Law on crimes against the security of the state under which they were convicted. There were also other arrests in other provinces of possible prisoners of conscience.
Despite an agreement in 2009 to stop expulsions between Angola and the DRC, the Angolan authorities continued to expel Congolese nationals and the expulsions were accompanied by human rights violations, including sexual violence. The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported that over 12,000 migrants had been expelled to Bandundu, Bas-Congo and Kasai provinces between September and the end of the year. According to OCHA, 99 women and 15 men were raped during the expulsion. One woman reportedly died in hospital after being raped. Other human rights violations included torture and other ill-treatment, and many of the migrants arrived naked and without their belongings. There were other expulsions in the course of the year.
No one is known to have been held responsible for human rights violations associated with these expulsions or similar expulsions in previous years.Top of page