May 17, 2023
Cited article by Human Rights Watch
HRRC calls on the Angolan government to end its crackdowns against pro-independence and human rights activists. Free speech and freedom to protest are critical rights that are protected under international law. The arrests of activists only serve to fuel discontent, and the government should drop all charges against those who have been detained.
There have been over 100 arbitrary arrests and detentions of activists in Angola since President João Lourenço came to power in September 2017. These activists primarily promote human rights and pro-independence movements in the Cabinda region, an area that is rich in oil. One security raid involved police entering a private school on March 25, 2023, arresting dozens of people attending a human rights workshop. Many of those arrested were questioned by authorities and released after 48 hours. However, it was reported that seven people were charged with "criminal association and rebellion," a crime that can result in up to eight years in prison.
Human rights concerns have been prevalent since President Lourenço took control of the government. He continues to respond violently to peaceful protests and activism in the Cabinda region. In addition, government authorities in Cabinda have violated the rights of protestors enshrined in the Angolan Constitution, the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.