UN Authority Figures

Human Rights Council's Working Group on Situations: Angola

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Homeless Angolan children hang out in their neighborhood south of Luanda 21 May 2007. The Angolan government has destroyed over 3,000 houses in Luanda since the 2002 ceasefire, according to the non-governmental organizations SOS Habitat and Human Rights Watch, to make way for new homes for the middle class and the rich. Some 20,000 people, who lived in modest houses built for the displaced fleeing the 1975-2002 civil war, are now the poorest in the capital after their overnight expulsion.

Mission of the Working Group on Situations: "Pursuant to Council resolution 5/1, the Complaint Procedure is being established to address consistent patterns of gross and reliably attested violations of all human rights and all fundamental freedoms occurring in any part of the world and under any circumstances... The procedure, inter alia, is to be victims-oriented and conducted in a timely manner. Two distinct working groups...are established ... The Working Group on Situations (WGS) examines the particular situations referred to it by the Working Group on Communications (WGC)...as well as the situations which the WGS decided to keep pending at its previous session, and decides whether or not to refer them to the Commission on Human Rights. It also examines the particular situations kept under review by the Commission at its previous session." (Human Rights Council Complaint Procedure web-site )

Term of office: 2008

Angola's Record on human rights:
"The government's human rights record remained poor, and there were numerous, serious problems... [H]uman rights activists and domestic media sources reported that security forces arbitrarily killed numerous persons during the year...Police reportedly viewed extrajudicial killings as an alternative to relying on the country's ineffective judicial system... [G]overnment security forces tortured, beat, and otherwise abused persons... [I]llegal Congolese immigrants...were subjected to the systematic rape of women, beatings, forced labor, withholding of food and water, and repeated cavity searches without the use of gloves...The UN Children's fund (UNICEF) also reported allegations of excessive use of force by government security forces during expulsions, including the burning of houses, arbitrary arrests, sexual violence, extortion, and forced labor. ...[T]he judiciary was inefficient, corrupt, and subject to executive influence... Violence against women was common and pervasive, particularly in urban areas... [E]lderly people, particularly rural and impoverished women, were sometimes vulnerable to accusations of witchcraft and subsequent abuse. Women were sometimes killed, beaten, expelled from their families, or died from mistreatment and malnourishment...Child abuse was widespread. Reports of physical abuse within the family were commonplace and largely tolerated by local officials... Children accused of witchcraft were subject to abuses... (U.S. State Department Country Reports on Human Rights Practices in Angola, 2007)