Angola‚ chair of Security Council‚ accused of human rights violations
While the Angolan government is revelling in its position as chair of the UN Security Council‚ civil society groups have accused it of human rights violations at home‚ specifically the imprisonment of activist José Marcos Mavungo.
A group of civil society organisations‚ including Amnesty International and the Southern Africa Litigation Centre‚ released a statement on Monday saying: “Angola continues to disregard the recommendations of the United Nations in relation to its own human rights situation.”
According to the statement Angola is holding the presidency of the UN Security Council in New York throughout March 2016‚ and the “Angolan authorities appear to be proud of this fact”.
In contrast to its activities in the country‚ “Angola is also actively engaged at other UN bodies and mechanisms‚ such as the Human Rights Council and the UN Treaty bodies”.
Angola has in the recent past been accused of arbitrary detentions and arrests by the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention. When UNGWAD wrote to the Angolan government in September 2015 “expressing serious concern at the alleged arbitrary arrest and the charges brought against José Marcos Mavungo” the government did not respond.
Mavungo was arrested on 14 March 2015 and in September sentenced to six years in prison for organising a peaceful demonstration against human rights violations and bad governance in the province of Cabinda.
Arrested a year ago today‚ the civil society groups are demanding his immediate release.
Following UNGWAD’s letter of concern in September‚ it “called on the Angolan authorities to release José Marcos Mavungo immediately and grant him compensation for the harm suffered”.
“More than three months have passed since the UNWGAD's findings and yet the Angolan authorities remain silent on this matter‚” the civil rights groups said in their statement.
Mavungo is a former member of the human rights organisation Mpalabanda‚ which was banned by the authorities in 2006.
“He was intending to peacefully demonstrate against human rights violations and a lack of transparency in the region’s management of public funds. The protest was banned by the governor‚ who felt it would show a "lack of respect and due consideration towards the population and government institutions". José Marcos Mavungo was accused of "sedition" and “rebellion”.