Angola | Freedom House

Countries at the Crossroads



Countries at the Crossroads 2005

2005 Scores

Accountability and Public Voice
(0 = WORST, 7 = BEST)


Civil Liberties
(0 = WORST, 7 = BEST)


Rule of Law
(0 = WORST, 7 = BEST)


Anti-Corruption and Transparency
(0 = WORST, 7 = BEST)


Angola's 27-year-long civil war ended in April 2002, after Jonas Savimbi - leader of the armed rebel movement UNITA (National Union for the Total Independence of Angola) since its creation in 1966 - was killed in a government ambush. A peace agreement was signed in 1991 and multiparty elections held in 1992; UNITA lost, claimed fraud, and returned the country to war. A further agreement signed in 1994 (the Lusaka Protocol) was similarly unsuccessful in halting the war. While the war was not primarily fought for profit but for power, Angola's exceptionally vast natural resources (primarily oil and diamonds) funded the military efforts of both sides and has kept Angola on the global political radar.

Peace has brought a gradual easing in the general political climate. Over the period 2003 - 2004, these trends have continued in most areas. Antigovernment protests and demonstrations are increasingly widespread, and the media are wide-ranging in their criticisms. The number of cases of detention and abuses of journalists and opposition figures has decreased, although incidents continue to be reported. Economic and financial transparency has broadly increased and Angola has signed on to international initiatives including the Kimberley Process and the African Union Peer Review Mechanism.

At the same time, the ruling Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) has tightened its grip on power and is unlikely to concede much to opposition parties in the next elections. State institutions remain heavily politicized; the judiciary is not completely exempt from MPLA pressure and influence. At the local level the party and state are in many places virtually indistinguishable, even though Angola made the transition from a one-party state under Marxist-Leninist rule to a free-market, multiparty democracy in 1991. The MPLA often takes credit for state functions such as healthcare provision and distribution of humanitarian aid; the latter has in some areas been made conditional on recipients joining or already being members of the MPLA. Political violence allegedly stirred by MPLA militants against UNITA ex-combatants and families has become increasingly common. State media retain a pro-MPLA line, and independent media are still effectively prevented from expanding beyond Luanda.

Government accountability to the Angolan population remains weak. Citizens have few opportunities for legal redress against perceived injustice or abuse, and localized corruption is still endemic. The legitimacy of the government itself remains questionable because elections have not taken place since Angola's first democratic vote, in 1992. The ending of the war, which should lead to a decrease in currently high levels of military expenditure, has not yet been followed by increased dedication of resources to broad socio-economic development. Angola ranked 166th out of 175 countries in the UNDP's 2004 Human Development Index, falling two places since 2003. NGOs and international organizations continue to provide health services, food, and agricultural support to large segments of the population, with around 1 million people (of a total of around 13 million) still deemed vulnerable by the World Food Programme.[1]

Finally, the ongoing separatist conflict in the province of Cabinda has still not been resolved, with persistent allegations against the Angolan Armed Forces of human rights abuses including torture, disappearances, and killings. The government has attempted to replicate its military win over UNITA with disastrous results for the local population. Cabindan rebel movements are divided and weakened, militarily incapable of mounting a serious challenge to the government. Although rebels and civil society organizations now appear more willing to begin a negotiation process, the government has not yet accepted the offer. A situation of "no war, no peace" prevails.

Accountability and Public Voice: 

Government accountability remains weak in Angola, with public voice increasingly tolerated but little heeded. Although the constitution provides for the separation of powers, stating that "the President of the Republic, the National Assembly, the Government and the Courts shall be sovereign bodies" (Article 53), this division has not been effectively realized. Power remains concentrated in the hands of the president, who appoints the prime minister and government, provincial governors, the governor of the national bank, members of the High Council of the Judicial Bench, and the majority of the Council of Ministers. The National Assembly, whose representatives are elected by proportional representation, is, in practice, largely subordinate to the executive. The executive (the Council of Ministers) also enjoys some legislative power. Governmental accountability is limited. Citizens are able to present complaints through a commission at the National Assembly, but prosecutions are rare.

The powers of the presidency have increased in recent years, through legislation including the Law on State Secrecy and the Law on National Security, passed in 2002. Intelligence services and the presidential guard report directly to the office of the president. Parallel structures of power are frequently more important than formal institutions of government. The MPLA, of which President Jose Eduardo dos Santos is head, exercises tight control over many state institutions. The civil service is highly politicized.

Presidential and legislative elections were last held in 1992, and thus the legitimacy of the government remains questionable. The United Nations declared the last elections "generally free and fair," but UNITA contested the MPLA's victory, returning the country to civil war. As a result, second-round presidential elections, required since dos Santos failed to gain an outright majority, were never held. President dos Santos himself has been in power since 1979, and the MPLA has ruled since independence was declared from Portugal in 1975. President dos Santos had said in 2001 that he would step aside for the next elections; however, in 2003 he indicated that he would respect the wishes of his party, effectively retracting the promise.

The Government of National Unity was formed in 1997, following the signing of the Lusaka Protocol; it was composed of MPLA and opposition representatives in proportions reflecting the 1992 election results. However, where a UNITA representative holds a ministerial position, the MPLA vice-minister is more powerful. By the end of 1998, Angola had returned to war, which lasted until 2002. Following intense pressure on the MPLA to set a date, an electoral timetable was approved in September 2004, anticipating elections in 2006. New electoral laws are planned that will regulate party registration and financing, campaigning opportunities, and access to broadcast time, along with constitutional revision and compilation of a new voter register.

The opportunities for rotation of power are limited, as most political parties are weak and fragmented. More than 130 parties formed post-1992, but few are genuinely active politically and only 11 opposition parties are represented in the National Assembly. Provision for state financing of registered parties exists. Opposition parties have tried to organize into coalitions such as the Angolan Civil Opposition Parties (POC), which in October 2003 organized the first authorized anti-government demonstration in Luanda since the end of the war, calling for elections.

UNITA has reorganized itself as a political party, but its leadership appears disorganized and fractured, and it does not currently represent a significant challenge to the MPLA's power. Thousands of former UNITA supporters and ex-combatants are reported to have joined the MPLA as party members (some say in order to access humanitarian aid and other benefits).

Universal suffrage is provided for in the constitution, but many Angolans do not currently have identification papers, and a new voters' register is needed. Efforts to rectify this are, albeit gradually, under way. As in 1992, the prospect of elections has already begun to give rise to localized conflicts and tensions, with complaints from UNITA that its party members and officials have been harassed and intimidated by members of the MPLA, JMPLA (the youth organization of the MPLA), and the Civil Defense Force (local militia groups armed by the government during the war).[2] A joint party commission was formed to investigate the allegations, although with few results so far.

Civic monitoring of government has increased in recent years, with more government willingness to consult on legislation, although its impact remains limited. For example, the recently approved Land Law was much debated, with civil society and NGOs actively lobbying the National Assembly and government, but the law was subsequently passed with only minor changes. The draft new constitution was published in print and on the Internet in 2004.

Criticism of government by media, civil society groups, and churches is increasingly common in Luanda, although far less tolerated in other provinces. Onerous registration requirements allow the government to retain some control over civil society groups and NGOs. Regulation of international NGOs in particular has tightened since 2002, with government officials criticizing donor interference in domestic affairs. Registration has been denied or continually deferred for some groups.

Overall, journalists report an increase in media freedom since the war ended. Restrictions still exist, however, particularly outside Luanda. The government takes a paternalistic attitude toward the independent media. In May 2004 the president criticized pasquins (a derogatory term for unreliable newspapers) for their abuse of press freedom.[3] Also in May, independent journalists complained at being excluded from a government press conference held in Benguela. State media, which are rarely, if ever, critical of the government, remain dominant outside Luanda. Private radio is limited to three largely uncritical provincial stations; the (often critical of government) Catholic-backed station Radio Ecclesia has been prevented from broadcasting nationally despite a statement by dos Santos in May that there was no legal impediment.[4] Private newspapers are rare; in any case, few have access to newspapers due to their high cost. Dos Santos stated in December 2003 at the MPLA congress that the state monopoly on television broadcasting would end, but few have access to television in any case. Financial support promised to private media in 2002 has been retracted[5] A new press law has been promised for a number of years but is still pending.

Although the constitution (Article 35) provides for freedom of the press, the Press Law restricts that freedom. Specific libel and defamation laws effectively protect government officials and the president from statements deemed offensive and contrary to the dignity of public office, even if true.[6] These are rarely invoked, but a story published by the independent newspaper Angolense in January 2003 on the multimillion-dollar fortunes of the Angolan elite has resulted in cases brought by five prominent officials against journalist Graca Campos. Editors of Angolense have reported anonymous threats and intimidation.

For fear of reprisals, many journalists continue to exercise self-censorship. Arbitrary detentions of journalists continued in 2002 - 2003,[7] although they were less common than before, and no cases were reported in 2003 - 2004. However, Luanda authorities in September 2004 seized independent newspapers.[8] The amended Press Law provides for seizure of periodicals by police in cases where "timely intervention" by a competent magistrate is impossible.[9]

Broader freedom of expression is also limited. In December 2003, a Luanda car-washer was killed by members of the presidential guard for singing lyrics from a popular antigovernment rap song. The perpetrators were arrested and are still in jail.

Civil Liberties: 

Virtually all basic civil rights and protections are guaranteed by the Angolan constitution. While Angola is not a party to some important international treaties,[10] specific provisions in the constitution and Angolan law provide for many of the rights covered by them.

The government has no independent human rights monitoring body with overall competence, although one is provided for by the draft new constitution. Currently the ministry of justice has a human rights unit, and the National Assembly has a human rights commission. In 2004 provincial human rights commissions were reactivated and a National Human Rights Action Plan was drafted.

A precondition for access to basic civic rights - such as state education - is the possession of a valid cedula (birth/civil registration). Many lack this document due to constraints including physical access to registration and inability to pay, although the government has made important progress with the implementation of a national free birth registration campaign for children.[11]

The government is beginning to tackle the problem of trafficking in children. It established a juvenile court in 2003, and the first trafficking investigation opened in March 2004.[12] No specific laws against trafficking exist, although laws prohibiting forced labor and kidnapping, for instance, may be used to prosecute cases.

Specific ethnic groups do not appear to be discriminated against by the state. The major ethnic groups in Angola, estimated to make up some 75 to 80 percent of the population, are (in order of size) the Ovimbundu, Mbundu, and Bakongo. They are represented in government, some linked historically with specific political parties (for example, MPLA has been associated with Mbundu support, UNITA with Ovimbundu). Parties are not strictly ethnically defined or representative, however, and smaller and nonrepresented ethnic groups do not appear to be significantly excluded as a result.

The UNHCRC has drawn attention to potential discrimination against smaller ethnic minorities in Angola, the San and Kung in particular, but the size of these groups is negligible and little is known about them.[13] More worrying is apparent persecution of Bakongo "regressados" (returned refugees), who were targets of violence in 1992, during police operations against illicit diamond miners in predominantly Bakongo areas in 2004[14]; and of Ovimbundu associated (sometimes incorrectly) with UNITA.

Angola is one of the most heavily mined countries in the world as a result of the war; recent estimates of unexploded munitions vary from around 500,000 to 2 million. The government estimates there are at least 80,000 disabled landmine victims in Angola, along with large numbers of amputees and war-disabled. These groups face considerable hardship due to lack of adequate social services and a weak and unaccommodating job market. Other disabled people face similar challenges. The needs and interests of people with disabilities are not obviously represented by the government. The Ministry for Social Assistance and Reintegration and the Ministry of Health both have relevant responsibilities, but they do not have great power in relation to other ministries. Most support is provided by international NGOs.

The rights of women are well protected constitutionally. However, although the constitution takes precedence over customary law in Angolan courts, women's lack of access to formal justice systems undermines this. Societal attitudes frequently lag behind the provisions of the constitution. Despite broadly equitable labor laws women are still predominantly confined to the informal sector and face discriminatory attitudes in the workplace.[15] No specific laws exist against domestic violence, and sentencing of men convicted of violence against women is frequently lenient.[16] The problem appears to have intensified in the postwar period. Participation of women in the state is higher than in many other African countries, although they still form a minority at around 10 percent in the central government and 3 percent in local government. A Ministry of Family and the Promotion of Women was created in 1997, and the MPLA women's group has been active in promoting women's rights.

Freedom of association, assembly, demonstration, and expression are guaranteed under the constitution, but impediments still exist. The state may prevent creation of groups for security reasons or if they exhibit "racist, fascist or tribalist ideologies" and has effectively prevented registration of some organizations (see "Accountability and Public Voice"). The MPLA has been accused of trying to coerce and co-opt media figures, state employees, and former UNITA combatants into joining the party, often using financial and material inducements.[17] Trade unions exist and are active, although non-MPLA ones are weak.

Religious belief, practice, and association are generally unimpeded by the state, although religious organizations must be registered and colonial-era statutes forbidding non-Christian groups still technically exist. Religious groups and churches in Cabinda have reported some interference from the government, such as being prohibited from holding religious meetings in homes; such meetings are illegal and moreover often include antigovernment protest.

Direct harassment of activists, political opponents, and media figures is far less commonly reported than in the past, but fears and accusations among the opposition persist. The charismatic leader of opposition party PDP-ANA, Mfulumpinga Lando Victor, was fatally shot in Luanda in July 2004. It is unclear who was behind the shooting. Even less freedom exists outside Luanda. For example, in July 2004 up to 80 houses of returning refugees and others alleged to have links to UNITA were torched in Moxico Province.[18]

Protests and demonstrations are permitted under Angolan law, subject to notification and authorization. Although increasingly tolerated by the government, opposition and civil society groups have complained at being denied authorization for or being physically prevented from holding demonstrations. Police involvement at organized protests has generally been nonviolent, although in some cases intimidation and repressive measures have been reported. In February 2004 civilians were killed when people at a demonstration in Cafunfo attempted to enter a police station and police allegedly opened fire indiscriminately.[19]

The constitution (Article 23) prohibits torture and other cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment, and arbitrary detention and arrest are prohibited under Angolan law. Yet a 30-page report released in November 2003 catalogued cases of disappearances, extra-judicial killings, arbitrary detention, rape, and torture committed by the Angolan Armed Forces after 40,000 troops were sent to Cabinda in 2002 to combat insurgents following the end of the war with UNITA.[20] Reports continued to emerge into 2004 but no formal investigation has been launched and no visible moves made to punish those responsible.

Under the constitution, as well as a number of the international treaties to which Angola is party, the right of habeas corpus is protected, unlawful arrest and detention prohibited, and maximum detention periods clearly stipulated. Lack of resources and of trained judges again means these provisions are regularly denied, however, with lengthy detentions and pretrial waits common. The situation improved in 2004 as the government made efforts to monitor and regularize pre-trial detention periods through implementation of a computerized database; some politically motivated cases may persist, however. Prison conditions are poor, with pervasive overcrowding and prisoners dependent on food brought by friends and relatives.

Human rights workshops with the national police were held in early 2004. Citizens can denounce police abuse of power at these sessions, and in Huambo there is a free telephone line. However, many Angolans will require proof that such complaints are heeded and properly investigated before they will make use of such provisions.

Rule of Law: 

Lack of accessibility is the most serious impediment in Angola's justice system, which is out of reach to an estimated 80 percent of Angolans.[21] The president has the power to appoint and dismiss judges of the Supreme Court, the general prosecutor and his/her deputies, and three members of the magistrates supreme council. Judges are subject to monitoring and disciplining by the high council of the judicial bench, and the attorney general also has the power to rule on the legality of judges' acts.

The 2003 International Bar Association (IBA) delegation to Angola failed to find any specific case in which the court's independence had been compromised. Courts have ruled against the Angolan government in cases involving media freedom and political freedom of expression. In 2004, the Supreme Court brought charges against a former provincial governor for acts committed during his time in office. The question of the political affiliation of judges is less certain. The IBA delegation's report cites contradictory sources: One states that judges are not allowed to belong to political parties, while another claims, more plausibly, that in practice most appointees must also be MPLA party members.[22]

As of September 2004, the judicial proctorate (ombudsman) post remained empty, with functions assumed by the attorney general. This office is designed to defend citizens' rights, "ensuring by informal means the justice and legality of the public administration."[23] It will be able only to recommend corrective action and not to enforce it, although the draft new constitution states that public bodies have a duty to comply with its recommendations. The Constitutional Court has not been created.

Although all Angolan citizens are constitutionally guaranteed the right to legal aid and counsel, lack of resources in the judicial system limits implementation. Of the approximately 600 lawyers in the entire country, 90 percent are in Luanda.[24] As of June 2004, nine municipal courts were in operation.[25] Court employees are underpaid, in some cases accepting bribes in order to expedite a case, and state-provided defenders are often inexperienced, with little knowledge of the law.[26] Efforts to train judges and lawyers and to promote rights of prisoners and detainees are ongoing, led especially by the Angolan Bar Association (ABA).

The Angolan military, which is among the largest forces in southern Africa (some 140,000 troops), as well as the police, are subject to civilian control. Security forces and armed forces are subordinate (and loyal) to the government and presidency and are not substantially influenced by non-state actors, nor do they interfere in the national political system themselves. However, some reports have linked them, particularly the Civil Defense Force, to the local-level political harassment of opposition party members.

Army generals are frequently reputed to have private business interests, in the diamond industry in particular. One of the major activities of the army since 2002 has been the expulsion of illegal diamond miners from Angola (see "Civil Liberties"), which may have caused some conflict of interest. In December 2003 Radio Ecclesia broadcast an interview with a government official claiming that soldiers had been intervening in diamond areas to protect garimpeiros (informal diamond miners) working for their superiors.[27]

The protection of property rights is a major problem in Angola, and it is as yet unclear whether the new land law passed in August 2004 will improve the situation or worsen it. Provision is made in the new law for regularization of informal land tenure. However, the period for submission of requests for registration was limited to one year, which civil society groups have claimed is impractical, if not impossible, for most. In addition, even if tenure is established, all land still legally belongs to the Angolan state; individuals have the right to surface usage only. The bill allows for expropriation of land for "public utility" purposes or in cases where land is not usefully exploited by tenants. The system for the awarding of development contracts remains opaque and open to corruption. As in the early 1990s, individuals with strong connections to the regime may again benefit.

The government has made attempts to close down informal settlements and markets in Luanda, for which it has been widely criticized. Accusations have emerged of private business interests influencing government actions and decisions and of police brutality during evictions. Viana market was closed in March 2004, and forced removals led to violence between police and traders (see "Civil Liberties"). Populations were forcibly removed from Boavista in 2001 and Bem Fica in 2003 without provision of adequate alternative housing.[28] The shopping center due to replace Kinaxixi market is to be built by a company run by one of dos Santos's closest allies.[29] Such cases show no signs of diminishing, especially with the postwar increase in construction and development projects.

Anti-Corruption and Transparency: 

Corruption and lack of transparency are the major problems besetting the Angolan state. Angola scores 2.0 out of 10 in Transparency International's 2004 Corruption Perceptions Index, indicating "rampant corruption." This represents a slight improvement on previous years however: In 2003 it scored 1.8, and in 2002 it received 1.7.[30]

The change reflects a gradual move toward transparency in the oil sector in particular. Previously the government had insisted on tight secrecy clauses in contracts signed with international oil companies. In 2004, by contrast, the Angolan government disclosed that it was receiving a $300 million signature bonus from ChevronTexaco.

An IMF report leaked in 2002 suggested $1 billion per year went missing from Angolan state coffers.[31] The government has claimed the discrepancy reflects miscalculations due to changing kwanza/dollar exchange rates and high rates of inflation. In response to criticism, in July 2003 the government released the KPMG Oil Diagnostic Executive Summary and in May 2004 the full report. While falling short of a full audit, the Oil Diagnostic did reveal a number of discrepancies in the government records of oil revenues.[32]

On July 21, 2004, the IMF issued a statement pointing to "significant progress ... made towards macroeconomic stability over the last year." This followed a similarly complimentary statement issued on April 27 that stressed the progress made by the Angolan government and specifically its "readiness to share with staff some critical financial information on the current and prospective management of oil revenues."[33] However, NGOs and civil society continue to push for a full independent audit of the government's oil accounts and changes in Angolan law to enshrine greater transparency of revenues.

Accusations against Angolan officials relating to illicit international arms deals and embezzlement of funds have been made in European courts; the government has attempted to block these, at times using oil contracts as leverage.[34] In 2003 the government attempted openly and unapologetically to protect French-Brazilian businessman Pierre Falcone from prosecution by nominating him Angolan representative to UNESCO, thereby granting him diplomatic immunity.[35] In January 2004 a French magistrate nevertheless issued an international arrest warrant against him; the Angolan government has since been accused of refusing to renew French company Total's oil contracts in a further attempt to have charges dropped.[36]

Insufficient guards against corruption exist within the state at national and local levels, and public and private spheres are inadequately separated. Currently, although some restrictions exist (for instance members of the National Assembly cannot be employed by foreign or international businesses), it is common for government officials and civil servants to operate private businesses alongside their official posts. This frequently creates conflicts of interest, particularly as international firms investing in Angola are required to be partnered with Angolan companies, many of which are front organizations involving prominent government figures.

Awarding of concessions and contracts is opaque and open to abuse. Government contracts are frequently granted to allies, associates, and relatives of government and MPLA officials. The draft new constitution provides for the separation of public and private sectors and political neutrality of the public sector,[37] but it is sufficiently vague that it is unlikely to threaten to any great extent the economic system. Members of government are not required to disclose details of their financial assets and incomes. When the independent newspaper Angolense published details of personal fortunes of the elite, a number of them resorted to legal action (see "Accountability and Public Voice").

Lower-level, small-scale corruption is also endemic, in part due to the heavily bureaucratic nature of Angolan administration and the inadequacy of government salaries. Angolan National Police are prone to extortion and petty corruption. Payment and acceptance of bribes is common practice.

Foreign assistance is often used as a tool for political purposes, with distribution of food and other aid taking place under the banner of the MPLA. Awarding of contracts has also been opaque, with, in extreme cases, credit (and payment) taken by Angolan subcontractors for work actually done by NGOs.

Mechanisms for independent monitoring of government activities and prevention of corruption are limited. The Tribunal de Contas (the accounting court) has the power to monitor the national budget in order to prevent corruption and misuse of funds. It has been active only since 2001, with its first ruling in 2003, but has prosecuted a number of cases since. Several high-profile officials have been charged with misappropriation of public funds, including (among others) a UNITA member of parliament, the Angolan ambassador to South Africa, and the former director of the National Institute of Scholarship. The draft new constitution provides for a High Authority against Corruption, to be elected by the National Assembly.

The attorney general provides for impartial investigation of alleged corruption by government officials. However, in 2004 opposition party PADEPA protested at the attorney general's failure to investigate allegations of attempted corruption by Deputy Prime Minister Aguinaldo Jaime. The attorney general has himself been accused of improper land appropriation in a Luanda district.[38]

State secrecy laws are weighted in favor of the government and not the public. Citizens do have a right to request information from the government; however, such requests are generally treated with suspicion. This is particularly true in the case of any data deemed potentially sensitive or critical of the government. Some moves toward greater openness have occurred through publication of draft legislation and government financial data, but these are generally limited to newspaper and Internet sources to which the majority of the population do not have access.

  • The constitutional court should be created, with greater efforts made to revise Angolan statutes in order to ensure they are compatible with the constitution and with international law and conventions to which Angola is a party. Of particular concern are those related to government ability to curtail civil liberties, freedom of expression, and association, and the protection of the rights of women and children.
  • The judicial proctorate post should be filled. The incumbent should be given adequate resources and complete political autonomy in undertaking investigations and should have power to oblige public bodies to comply with its recommendations.
  • Access to the judicial system should be extended by further increasing the number of lawyers and judges, reactivating courts in all municipalities, and reinforcing the legal aid system. The government should support efforts by the ABA in this direction - for instance, placing lawyers in police stations - without compromising the ABA's independence. Court procedures should be simplified and/or support be provided to complainants/defendants so that low levels of literacy do not exclude people from justice systems.
  • Cases of bribe-taking by court officials must be investigated and punished and any forms of political interference in judicial processes ended. Particular efforts must be made in this area in the provincial and municipal courts.
  • The land registration and regularization period should be extended. All land appropriation, coerced expulsions, and relocations of populations must be suspended during this time, and support should be given to communities and individuals throughout the process.
  • The government should revise Angolan law so as to incorporate moves toward transparency, such as the regular publication of data relating to oil revenues, audits, and other external reports. A full and independent audit of Sonangol (the state-owned oil company) should be carried out and the results published.
  • Angola should sign on to international initiatives such as the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative and adhere to their provisions. Companies that sign up to and implement such initiatives and move to disclose data relating to oil payments should not be punished by the Angolan government.
  • Potentially repressive laws (including the State Secrets Law) should be revised or repealed, especially those created in or justified by wartime expediencies. Greater freedom of access to government data and information by citizens and civic organizations should be permitted and greater attempts be made to publish and publicize data related to government expenditures, revenues, and policies.
  • The awarding of economic concessions and contracts should be open and transparent. Public officials should be required to disclose private interests and incomes.
  • Greater separation of the executive and legislative branches of government should be effected, with the latter given increased power. Efforts should be made to strengthen the neutrality and competence of the civil service and state institutions at both central and local levels. Increased investment in intermediate and higher education within Angola will be needed to train such personnel.                                                                                                 
  • The government should strengthen efforts to incorporate concerns and recommendations expressed by civil society about impending legislation into the revision process. Consultative mechanisms should be created to ensure participation of community-based organizations and traditional authorities in the provinces.
  • Locally elected government, anticipated in the draft new constitution, would greatly revitalize and legitimize the state at the local level by granting it greater financial and political autonomy. This reform should incorporate traditional authorities and representatives of civil society.
  • Laws relating to freedom of the press should be revised to eliminate excessively punitive statutes on defamation and libel. Domestic independent media should not be prohibited from expanding nationally. Ensuring media freedom will be especially important in the run-up to elections and may require formation of an independent commission or board to regulate and ensure, inter alia, access to state media (especially radio) by opposition parties for campaigning purposes.
  • An independent electoral commission should be established as soon as possible to participate in the revision of electoral laws; it should have the power to oversee a comprehensive and universally accessible voter registration process and to investigate complaints relating to that or any other aspects of the electoral process.
  • Mechanisms permitting citizens to report cases of abuse, repression, and excessive use of force by state security services and armed forces should be expanded into all areas of Angola, including free and anonymous phone lines for reporting purposes. The government should ensure that any abuses reported are promptly and impartially investigated and punished and that those making such complaints are protected from reprisal.
  • A full and impartial investigation should be launched into abuses of human rights by state security services and armed forces documented by NGOs and civil society organizations, particularly (but not limited to) those related to the conflict in Cabinda.
  • Efforts to ensure civic registration of all Angolan citizens should be increased, with free registration extended to adults. This should be accompanied by civic education, including information on the rights and responsibilities of citizens. It should be carried out by neutral parties, such as civil society organizations and churches.
  • The government should not inhibit nongovernmental defenders of human rights and activists promoting awareness of civic rights from carrying out their work.
  • Legislation on registration of civic, political, and religious organizations should be equally and transparently applied to all groups, with applications processed promptly. Authorization of protests and demonstrations should also be handled evenly, with permission granted or denied on a politically neutral basis.

[1] "Humanitarian Situation in Angola Quarterly Analysis: July - September 2004" (Luanda: UN, October 2004).

[2] For reports of political harassment, see William Tonet and Antonio Setas, "Reconciliation Is Not What It Used to Be," Folha 8 (5 June 2004): 14-15; "Acts of political intolerance promoted by the MPLA between 23 February and 8 April 2004," (UNITA Memorandum), April 2004; "Actos de Aliciamento," (UNITA statement), September 2004. On the nature and activities of the ODC, see Suzana Mendes, "Are the Civilian Defense Forces a cover for MPLA security forces?" A Capital, 10 July 2004.

[3] Eduardo dos Santos (Washington, DC: Voice of America, press conference, 14 May 2004).

[4] Ibid.

[5] Finance Ministry Press Adviser Bastos de Almeida, cited in "Producing newspapers in Angola costs seven times more than anywhere else," A Capital, 21 August, 2004.

[6] Unfinished Democracy: Media and Political Freedoms in Angola (New York: Human Rights Watch [HRW], 14 July 2004), 16.

[7] "Attacks on the Press 2003: Angola" (New York: Committee to Protect Journalists [CPJ], 2004),

[8] "Luanda verification authorities confiscate private weekly publications," A Capital, 11 September 2004.

[9] Amended Press Law, August 2000, Article 25 (2): Arrest of Publication. See

[10] Angola: Promoting Justice Post-conflict (London: International Bar Association [IBA], July 2003), 19.

[11] "Multiple indicator cluster survey on women and children in Angola at the start of the millennium: an analysis" (Luanda: National Statistical Institute/UNICEF, 2003); "Consideration of Reports Submitted by States Parties Under Article 44 of the Convention. Initial reports of State parties due in 1993. Angola" (New York: United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child, Report CRC/C/3/Add.66, 10 August 2004).

[12] Trafficking in Persons Report (Washington, DC: U.S. Dept. of State, 14 June, 2004), 42.

[13] "Consideration of Reports... Angola" (New York: UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Report CRC/C/3/Add.66, 10 August 2004), 21; "Consideration of Reports... Angola. Concluding Observations" (New York: UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Report CRC/C/15/Add.246, 1 October 2004), 5.

[14] "Angola Semi-Annual Risk Assessment: June to November 2004" (Berne: Swisspeace FAST Update, December 2004), 3.

[15] "Combined Initial through Third Periodic Report on Angola: Concluding Observations" (New York: United Nations Division for the Advancement of Women, Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women [CEDAW], Report A/59/38 part II, October 2004), point 129; "Combined Initial through Third Periodic Report on Angola" (New York: UN Division for the Advancement of Women, CEDAW, CEDAW/C/AGO/4-5, 31st Session, 7 November 2002), 16.

[16] "UN Recommends Special Focus on Women's Rights in Angola," UN Integrated Regional Information Networks (IRIN), 13 July 2004.

[17] "Unfinished Democracy: Media and Political Freedoms in Angola" (New York: HRW, 14 July 2004).

[18] "Violence in Cazombo as Houses Torched," UN Integrated Regional Information Networks (IRIN), 20 July 2004.

[19] "Angola: Riot over generator leaves unknown number dead," IRIN, 26 February 2004.

[20] "A Year of Pain" (Cabinda: Ad-hoc Commission for Human Rights in Cabinda, 3 November 2003); see also earlier report from same source, "Terror in Cabinda," 10 December 2002.

[21] "Annual Appeal 2004: Overview of Activities and Financial Requirements" (New York: UN, Office of the High Commissioner of the United Nations for Human Rights, 2004), 50.

[22] Angola: Promoting Justice Post-conflict (IBA, July 2003), 33.

[23] Constitutional Law, Article 142 (1). Similar provision is made in the draft new constitution.

[24] Ibid., 23.

[25] Mid-Year Review of the Consolidated Appeals Process (CAP): Humanitarian Appeal 2004 for Angola (New York: UN, Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs [OCHA], June 2004), 8.

[26] Angola: Promoting Justice Post-conflict (IBA, July 2003), 32, 37.

[27] "Angolan Official Says Army Involved in Diamond Trafficking," AFP, 18 December 2003.

[28] Mass forced evictions in Luanda: a call for a human rights based housing policy (London: Amnesty International, November 2003).

[29] Country Report 2004: Angola (London: Economist Intelligence Unit, June 2004), 14.

[30] "Corruption Perceptions Index" (Berlin: Transparency International, 2002, 2003, 2004).

[31] See Justin Pearce, "IMF: Angola's 'missing millions,'" BBC News, 18 October 2002, referring to "Angola: Staff Report for the 2002 Article IV Consultation" (Washington, DC: International Monetary Fund [IMF], 18 March 2002); "Angola: Selected Issues and Statistical Appendix" (IMF, 11 July 2003). See also, Some Transparency, No Accountability: The Use of Oil Revenue in Angola and Its Impact on Human Rights (New York: HRW, A1601, 13 January 2004).

[32] See Some Transparency, No Accountability: The Use of Oil Revenue in Angola and Its Impact on Human Rights (New York: HRW, A1601, 13 January 2004), 16 - 31.

[33] "IMF Staff Statement on Angola," IMF Press Release No. 04/88, 27 April 2004.

[34] See All the President's Men: The Devastating Story of Oil and Banking in Angola's Privatised War (London: Global Witness, March 2002).

[35] "Presidential Aide Defends Appointment of French National to UN Post," unpublished text of recorded telephone interview with Angolan presidential adviser Carlos Belli Bello by Radio France Internationale (RFI) correspondent Antonio Garcia.

[36] Country Report 2004: Angola (London: Economist Intelligence Unit, June 2004), 15.

[37] Draft New Constitution, published at

[38] "Attorney General said involved in fraud involving piece of land," Angolense, 31 July 2004.