Rights organization pins blame on Angolan government for violating anti-government protesters’ rights
Human Rights Watch (HRW) on Monday accused Angolan police of killing over a dozen anti-government protesters since January.
According to a statement released by HRW, Angola’s police also stand accused of the arbitrary arrest and detention of hundreds of people.
“Members of the Angola National Police and its Criminal Investigation Service and the State Security and Intelligence Service have been implicated in unlawful killings of at least 15 people, as well as the arbitrary arrests and detention of hundreds more,” the non-governmental human rights organization said in the statement.
Among those arrested were political activists, artists and protest organizers, whom HRW said were the main targets of the alleged rights violations.
As a result, Zenaida Machado, senior Africa researcher at HRW, said “Angolan authorities should urgently act to end abusive police policies and practices and ensure that there is justice for victims and their family members.”
HRW also said that despite the Angolan government’s spirited efforts to improve law enforcement, prosecutions or arrests of police officers facing accusations of human rights violations remain rare.
Meanwhile, the Angolan ruling party, the People’s Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA), denied HRW’s claims of arrested anti-government protesters.
“Investigations are already underway. However, we find it strange that those calling for the necessary investigations already have conclusions and are passing judgement,” said ruling party spokesman Rui Falcao.
Yet Angola’s main opposition party, the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA), claimed it documented more than 130 cases of people being killed by security forces during protests since 2017.
Angola has been hit by a series of protests since the government scrapped subsidies for petrol in June this year.
But in its statement, HRW has insisted that the country’s security forces “have also arbitrarily arrested and detained people who publicly criticized the government.”