The authorities curtailed freedom of assembly through excessive use of force, arbitrary arrests and detentions, and criminal charges. Police used excessive force resulting in deaths. Journalists faced increased restrictions. Two journalists were tried and convicted of defamation for writing critical articles. There were further forced evictions and the government failed to honour its promise to rehouse 450 families who had been previously evicted. Human rights violations continued against Congolese people expelled from Angola.
A bill to criminalize cybercrime, which was criticized by civil society as a risk to freedom of expression and information, was withdrawn in May. Concerns remained that the bill would be reintroduced or its provisions incorporated into the Penal Code under revision.
Anti-government demonstrations took place throughout the year calling for the resignation of the President. A protest in September became violent after suspected members of the State Information and Security Services infiltrated the crowds and reportedly vandalized property and beat individuals, including journalists. A number of demonstrators were arrested.
In September the Provincial Government of Luanda issued a by-law indicating the areas that could be used for assemblies and demonstrations. It excluded Independence Square, where the majority of anti-government demonstrations had taken place during the year.
In June, parliament approved a law against domestic violence.
In July the President inaugurated the first phase of the City of Kilamba project comprising 20,000 new apartments, 14 schools, a hospital and 12 health posts. Other plans to build social housing in various parts of the country were announced throughout the year.
In August, immigration authorities at Luanda’s international airport refused entry into Angola to delegates of various civil society organizations who were to attend the Civil Society Forum of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), planned around the SADC Heads of State Summit. Arrangements had been made for them to receive visas upon arrival at the airport. Two Mozambican journalists who were to cover the Summit were also refused entry, despite having valid visas.
In November, opposition party parliamentarians walked out of a parliamentary debate on the new Electoral Legislative package for the 2012 general elections. The National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (União Nacional para Independência Total de Angola, UNITA) stated that the package contained unconstitutional provisions. In December, the Organic Law for the National Electoral Commission was approved.Top of page
Forced evictions continued, although on a smaller scale than previous years, and thousands of people remained at risk of being forcibly evicted. Some planned evictions were suspended. Thousands of families forcibly evicted in the past remained without compensation.
In June the government announced that over 450 families in Luanda whose homes were demolished between 2004 and 2006 were to be rehoused from September. This had not begun by the end of the year.
Planned demolitions in the Arco Íris neighbourhood of Lubango city centre were cancelled by the Huíla Provincial Governor in August because of inadequate conditions where approximately 750 families were to be resettled. The families had been given a month to leave their homes in June, which was extended for a further month, and were offered land in an isolated area 14km from the city.
Police carried out their functions in a partisan manner, especially during some of the anti-government demonstrations. They used excessive force to disperse demonstrators, including live ammunition, dogs and an irritant spray to the eyes, and carried out arbitrary arrests and detentions.
In a number of cases, off-duty police officers were accused of shooting and killing individuals. In most cases the officers had not been brought to justice by the end of the year.
Journalists faced increased restrictions. Several were briefly detained or beaten by police or suspected members of the security services, and had their property confiscated or destroyed while covering anti-government demonstrations. Two were sentenced to imprisonment for alleged defamation.
Freedom of assembly was curtailed throughout the country. Police used excessive force in some instances, including dogs and firearms, to quell demonstrations and arbitrarily arrested protesters and journalists. Some were released without charge after hours or days; scores of others were tried for disobedience and resisting authority.
Thirty-three members of the Commission of the Legal Sociological Manifesto of the Lunda Tchokwe Protectorate remained in prison without trial until the Supreme Court ordered their release in March, despite the repeal in December 2010 of the law under which they had been charged. They were not awarded any compensation for their unlawful detention.
Two other Commission members, Mário Muamuene and Domingos Capenda, detained in October 2010, were sentenced to one year’s imprisonment for rebellion in March. They remained in prison although the sentence expired in October. They and five other prisoners – Sérgio Augusto, Sebastião Lumani, José Muteba, António Malendeca and Domingos Henrique Samujaia – went on hunger strike in May and again in October to protest against their continuing detention and poor prison conditions.Top of page
According to the International Committee for the Development of Peoples (Comitato Internazionale per lo Sviluppo dei Populi, CISP), at least 55,000 nationals of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) were expelled from Angola during the year. At least 6,000 of these reported suffering sexual violence. No one was held responsible for human rights abuses during the expulsions of Congolese migrants from Angola in past years. Following a visit to Angola in March, the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict expressed concern over the continued reports of sexual violence against Congolese migrants by Angolan armed forces during expulsions. The Angolan Minister of Foreign Affairs denied the allegations. In November the Special Representative called on the governments of Angola and the DRC to investigate these reports and bring the perpetrators to justice. In December, the Minister of Foreign Affairs stated that the government would co-ordinate with the UN to expel foreign nationals from the country.Top of page