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Title:  Angola Human Rights Practices, 1995  
Author:  U.S. Department of State   
Date:  March 1996   
 
 
 
 
                              ANGOLA 
 
 
The Republic of Angola is in transition from a single party state to a 
multiparty democracy.  The Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola 
(MPLA) has ruled Angola since its independence from Portugal in 1975.  
In November 1994, the Government signed the Lusaka Protocol peace accord 
with the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA), 
led by Jonas Savimbi, ending 20 years of civil war.  Under the auspices 
of the United Nations Angola Verification Mission (UNAVEM) and with the 
help of three observer countries, the United States, Portugal, and 
Russia, the Government and UNITA continued to implement the Lusaka 
Protocol's provisions for a cease-fire, withdrawal of forces in contact, 
disarming and quartering of UNITA forces, and the creation of a new 
national army made up of elements from both sides.   
 
The Constitution was revised in 1991 to provide for elections and for 
guarantees of basic human rights, but the Government does not generally 
respect its provisions in practice.  In 1992 President Jose Eduardo dos 
Santos received a plurality of the votes in Angola's first elections, 
which the United Nations' observers declared to be free and fair.  The 
President and the MPLA, backed by the security services, continue to 
dominate the Government and to repress all opposition forces that they 
regard as a threat to their power. 
 
The Ministry of the Interior is responsible for internal security.  It 
exercises this function through the National Police and the paramilitary 
Rapid Intervention Police created in 1992 to quell civil unrest.  The 
armed forces have responsibility for external security but have been 
primarily engaged in fighting the civil war against UNITA.  While 
civilian authorities generally maintain effective control of the 
security forces, there are frequent instances in which the security 
forces act independently of government authority.  Members of the 
security forces committed numerous, serious human rights abuses. 
 
Angola is a war-torn, developing country with great economic potential 
from extensive petroleum and diamond reserves, rich agricultural land, 
and latent hydroelectric resources.  Subsistence agriculture, the 
traditional livelihood for the majority of Angola's approximately 10 
million citizens, continued to be severely constrained by heavily mined 
fields and roads.  In mid-1995, 1.4 million people relied on emergency 
food aid in the world's largest humanitarian relief effort.  Areas under 
government control suffered from hyperinflation, scarcity of consumer 
goods, massive unemployment and underemployment, and continuing 
pervasive corruption.  UNITA-controlled areas reportedly experienced 
similar problems.  The principal exports are petroleum and diamonds, 
which together with foreign aid are the country's leading sources of 
foreign exchange.  Annual per capita gross national product is 
approximately $620.  Most of the country's wealth is concentrated in the 
hands of the small MPLA, military, and business elite.  The average 
monthly salary of wage earners is equivalent to only about $6, which 
provides most of the population with a very low standard of living. 
 
As a consequence of the gradual implementation of the Lusaka Protocol, 
the massive extrajudicial killing that characterized Angola in 1994 has 
largely abated.  Although there was some improvement in other areas, the 
Government's human rights record continued to be poor, and it continued 
to commit numerous, serious abuses.  Government leaders cite the 20-year 
civil war with UNITA to justify allowing emergency considerations to 
override concerns over human rights abuses.  Members of the security 
forces committed numerous extrajudicial killings, arbitrarily and 
secretly arrested and detained individuals, and routinely tortured and 
beat detainees.  The Government did not take any effective action to 
punish abusers.  Prison conditions are life threatening.   
 
The Government restricts freedom of expression and freedom of the press 
and inhibits the free movement of its citizens both inside and outside 
the country.  As a result, although Angola is nominally a multiparty 
democracy, its citizens have no effective ability to change their 
government.  Violence against women is widespread.  Children and the 
disabled continue to suffer as a result of the civil war and poor 
economic conditions.  The Government continues to dominate the labor 
movement, and there was no improvement in the poor worker rights 
situation. 
 
Government and UNITA forces are guilty of flagrant violations of 
humanitarian law in their prosecution of the civil war.  Both inhibited 
independent investigations of human rights abuses in territories under 
their control.   
 
Within the territory under its control, UNITA's human rights abuses 
included disappearances, arbitrary arrests and detentions, denial of 
fair public trial, violations of humanitarian law in the civil war 
including attacks on civilian populations, forced conscription of young 
children, and restrictions on the freedoms of speech, press, assembly, 
association, and movement.   
 
RESPECT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS 
 
Section 1   Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including Freedom 
from: 
 
   a.   Political and Other Extrajudicial Killing 
 
Politically and economically motivated violence by state security forces 
and common criminal violence are often indistinguishable in Angola.  A 
large number of violent crimes including robbery, vehicle hijackings, 
assault, kidnaping, rape, and murder are committed by members of the 
military and police forces both in and out of uniform.  Although much of 
this criminal activity is committed by poorly paid rogue elements of the 
security forces, there are credible reports that some of these attacks 
are carried out under orders from the Government.  Moreover, the 
Government did not take any effective action to punish abusers.   
 
On January 18, independent journalist Ricardo de Mello was murdered in 
an apparent political killing.  The police had not divulged the results 
of their investigation by year's end.  The April slaying in Luanda of 
United Nations Police Observer Raul Rubin Aguirre and the July 14 
assassination of UNITA official and former National Police commandant 
Jose Adao da Silva also remained unexplained. 
 
There were credible accounts that the Rapid Intervention Police 
summarily executed people caught in the act of committing a crime.  
Frequent gun battles between members of the military and police, and 
fighting among soldiers, police, and bandits in Luanda's streets, 
suburbs, and open air markets resulted in numerous civilian casualties. 
 
The August 1994 murder of a well-known journalist and the July 1994 
assassination of the Vice Governor of Malange Province remain unsolved.  
The results of the investigation into the November 1993 death of 
opposition politician Carlos Simeao were never released.  It is widely 
believed that they were killed for political reasons. 
 
The Government alleges that in April and May UNITA forces in the 
municipality of Dange Kitexe, in Uige Province, killed 27 people, mostly 
local MPLA officials and civil servants.  The Government also alleges 
that UNITA forces massacred 28 civilians at Quibaxe.  UNAVEM observers 
were unable to conclude investigations into these reports. 
 
   b.   Disappearance 
 
Reports by the Government and UNITA accusing each other of abductions, 
disappearances, and killings of civilians continued.  Real abuses are 
numerous and serious, but whereas at the beginning of 1994 thousands of 
people were dying daily, the current rate of 
kidnapings/abductions/disappearances is in the range of dozens per 
month.  Despite the efforts of the international community, there were 
no developments in the case of two persons associated with Africare, 
Vincent Douma and Oliveira Lembe, who disappeared in Cuanza Sul 
Territory in August 1994.   
 
UNITA arrested two Angolan humanitarian relief workers in Huambo in mid-
1994 for violating "state security."  One was held incommunicado; the 
other was held without charge but was allowed visitors.  When government 
forces recaptured Huambo in November, these two detainees had 
disappeared.  The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and 
U.N. agencies continued searching for them throughout the year.   
 
   c.   Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or 
Punishment 
 
There were credible firsthand reports that the police committed torture.  
Prison officials employed by the Interior Ministry routinely beat 
accused individuals in Comarca de Viana, a prison on the outskirts of 
Luanda, to extract information and/or confessions prior to trial.  In 
many cases, the police routinely beat and then release detainees rather 
than make any effort to prepare a formal court case. 
 
Prison conditions are so poor as to constitute a threat to the health 
and life of prisoners.  The Government and the National Assembly 
Committee on Human Rights have acknowledged that conditions are inhuman.  
Cells designed for 10 prisoners contain as many as 30 persons and are 
divided by open toilets and sewage.  Many prisons, lacking financial 
support from the Government, are unable to supply prisoners with 
adequate food and health care.  There are credible reports that many 
prisoners die of malnutrition and tuberculosis.  Prisoners depend on 
families, friends, and international relief organizations for basic 
support.  The Attorney General reportedly visited prisons throughout 
Angola and is attempting to improve sanitary conditions. 
 
   d.   Arbitrary Arrest, Detention, or Exile 
 
Under the law, a person caught in the act of committing a crime may be 
arrested and detained immediately.  Otherwise, the law requires that an 
arrest warrant be signed by a judge or a provincial attorney general, 
followed by a public statement of the grounds for arrest.  The 
Consitution provides for the right to a prompt judicial determination of 
the legality of the detention.  Under the law the prosecution and 
defense have a maximum of 90 days before trial to prepare a case.  The 
Consitution also provides prisoners with the right to receive visits by 
family members.  However, because of a scarcity of resources and the 
lack of qualified and motivated personnel in the judicial system, the 
accused do not generally enjoy the exercise of these rights. 
 
In 1993 the Council of Ministers decided to transfer control of the 
judicial process and prison system from the Interior Ministry to the 
Justice Ministry, but the transfer had not been made by year's end.  
Interior Ministry personnel continued to systematically, arbitrarily, 
and secretly arrest and detain persons for all categories of crime for 
indefinite periods of time, often without any apparent intent of 
bringing the detainees to trial. 
 
The number of people detained by the Government and UNITA for political 
and security reasons is unknown.  In May the security police arrested 
opposition politician N'zuzi Domingos for allegedly defaming the 
character of Vice Minister of the Interior/National Police Commandant 
Francisco da Piedade Dias dos Santos, "Nando."  Domingos was held 
incommunicado for a week and was eventually released in July with no 
charges filed against him. 
 
The Lusaka Protocol provides for the release, under ICRC auspices, of 
persons detained for war-related reasons.  In August in the first group 
the Government released 210 prisoners, and UNITA released 20.  As of 
November, UNITA continued to deny ICRC access to another 20 prisoners 
who should have been released with the first group.  In November the 
ICRC visited 213 persons still being detained by both sides; however, it 
only had continuing access to, and sufficient information about, 78 of 
that number.   
 
During the exchange process, the Government detained 200 more people in 
October, and said it would only release them after UNITA released its 
prisoners.  Subsequently the Government resumed cooperation with the 
ICRC, and the release of the Government held detainees got back on 
track.  The detainees included 60 civilians who were arrested for 
engaging in alleged subversive activities and held in shipping 
containers in Uige after traveling to Uige from UNITA controlled 
territory.  Most of these 60 had been released by year's end.   
 
   e.   Denial of Fair Public Trial 
 
The Consitution provides for an independent judiciary, but in practice 
the court system lacks the means, experience, and training to be truly 
independent from the influence of the President and the ruling MPLA. 
 
The court system comprises the Supreme Court at the appellate level and 
municipal and provincial courts of original jurisdiction (the latter 
under the authority of the Ministry of Justice).  The President of the 
Republic has strong appointive powers, including appointment of Supreme 
Court judges, with no requirement for confirmation by the National 
Assembly.  As of October, half of the 16 seats on the Supreme Court 
remained vacant.  The Court serves as an appellate tribunal for 
questions of law and fact, but it does not have authority to interpret 
the Constitution.  The Constitution reserves this role for a 
Constitutional Court, a bench that remained empty throughout the year.  
Trials for political and security crimes are handled exclusively by the 
Supreme Court.  There were no known political or security trials.   
 
There are credible reports that the Government holds political 
prisoners; however, the number is unknown.   
 
The Constitution provides defendants the presumption of innocence, the 
right to a defense and legal assistance, and the right of appeal.  
Amendments to the Code for Penal Process in 1991 provided for public 
trials, established a system of bail, and recognized the accused's right 
to counsel and to testify.  However, the Government often does not 
respect these rights in practice.  Municipal courts normally deal 
rapidly with routine civil and misdemeanor cases on a daily basis.  
Judges are normally respected laymen, not licensed lawyers.  The judge 
and two laymen selected by the full court act as jury.  Routine cases 
are normally dispatched by a court within 3 months.  The verdict is 
pronounced the day following the conclusion of the trial, in the 
presence of the defendant. 
 
UNITA has established a military and a civilian court system in 
territory under its control, but the Civil Code remains secret, and 
trials are never public.  UNITA President Jonas Savimbi appoints the 
judges.  The juries consist of male elders chosen from the community.  
Reportedly the accused has the right to a lawyer.  In early October, 
UNITA announced its intention to execute 8 former UNITA members who had 
been summarily found guilty of murdering 10 people 2 weeks earlier.  It 
stayed the executions upon intervention from the international 
community. 
 
   f.   Arbitrary Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or 
Correspondence 
 
The Government maintains a sophisticated security apparatus dedicated to 
surveillance, monitoring, and wire tapping of certain groups, including 
journalists, opposition party leaders, members and suspected 
sympathizers of UNITA, National Assembly deputies, and foreign 
diplomats.  The law requires judicial warrants for searches of private 
homes, and that law is generally respected in practice. 
 
   g.   Use of Excessive Force and Violations of Humanitarian Law in 
Internal Conflicts 
 
Consolidation of the Lusaka Protocol peace process resulted in a 
substantial decline in the widespread abuses of humanitarian standards 
committed by both government and UNITA forces during the previous 20 
years.  However, government and UNITA forces continued to rob, rape, and 
kill civilians.  "Bandits" (a term also applied to rogue elements of the 
armed forces) were also responsible for many attacks against civilian 
populations.  Millions of mines planted by Portugal, South Africa, Cuba, 
Angolan government and UNITA forces during the 20-year civil war 
continued to kill and maim thousands of people.  Although both the 
Government and UNITA actively committed themselves to support demining 
programs, there were isolated instances in which local commanders in 
some areas continued to plant mines.  Both sides continued to forcibly 
conscript children as young as 12 years into service throughout Angola. 
 
Many roads were demined and reopened as a consequence of commitments by 
both the Government and UNITA to allow the free circulation of people 
and goods throughout Angola.  However, in many areas local authorities 
and military commanders of both parties continued to restrict free and 
safe passage of local populations, humanitarian organizations providing 
relief assistance, and United Nations observers.  Men in military and 
police uniform attacked and stole humanitarian aid from beneficiaries 
and, on a few occasions, also attacked and looted warehouses and road 
convoys carrying humanitarian relief supplies. 
 
Section 2   Respect for Civil Liberties, Including: 
 
   a.   Freedom of Speech and Press 
 
The Constitution provides for freedom of expression and of the press, 
and specifically provides that the press cannot be subject to political, 
ideological, or artistic censorship.  However, the Government does not 
respect these rights in practice.  Citizens, including deputies in the 
National Assembly, expect reprisals for public criticism of the 
Government or the MPLA, and the Government attempts to impede such 
criticism by monitoring political meetings.  Journalists are intimidated 
into practicing self-censorship.  The Government runs and tightly 
controls the only daily newspaper, the only television station, and the 
major radio station and tightly restricts opposition leaders' access to 
these media.  Two commercial radio stations and three private weekly and 
biweekly newspapers all practice self-censorship.  The transmissions of 
one private radio station were cut several times after it broadcast 
remarks mildly critical of the Government. 
 
Media policy and censorship are controlled by a committee composed of 
the Minister of Social Communication, the press spokesman for the 
Presidency, and the directors of the state-owned radio, television, and 
newspaper.  Additionally, the Prime Minister has staff members devoted 
exclusively to censoring the government-owned and controlled newspaper 
Jornal de Angola.  The state-controlled national radio headquarters in 
Luanda clears all programs broadcast on national radio stations in 
provincial capitals.   
 
Government censorship of the press and intimidation of journalists 
increased in 1995.  Several journalists were beaten, some brutally, in 
apparent retaliation for writings critical of government and MPLA 
leaders.  Journalists admit that they practice self-censorship and that 
repeated "errors in judgement" can result in dismissal and death 
threats.  The January 18 murder of Ricardo de Mello, editor of the 
independent newsletter Imparcial Fax was a major blow to the development 
of a free press in Angola (see Section 1.a.).  Imparcial Fax closed 
down, and several of its staff sought safety outside the country when 
harassment and death threats against them continued.  Another well-known 
journalist received death threats after reporting an embezzlement 
scandal involving high-level government leaders. 
 
The Government is less restrictive with foreign news agencies such as 
the Voice of America (VOA), the British Broadcasting Corporation, and 
Cable News Network.  However, one journalist was beaten after giving an 
interview to VOA.  Foreign journalists require authorization from the 
Minister of Interior without which they cannot obtain access to 
government officials or travel within Angola.  Both the Government and 
UNITA invited journalists to planned press events and to visit areas 
under their control. 
 
UNITA runs a tightly controlled radio station whose broadcasts of often 
inflammatory material are heard throughout Angola.  UNITA's newspaper, 
Terra Angolana, cannot be found in government-controlled areas. 
 
Academic life has been severely circumscribed by the civil war, but 
there is academic freedom, and academics do not practice self-
censorship. 
 
   b.   Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association 
 
The Constitution provides for the rights of association, assembly, and 
protest, but the Government does not respect these rights in practice.  
Both assembly and association are strictly controlled by the Government.  
Legislation allows the Government to deny required registration to 
private associations on security grounds, and the Government uses its 
powers arbitrarily to limit organized activities deemed inimical to its 
interests.  The law also requires a minimum of 3-days' prior notice to 
authorities before public or private assemblies and makes participants 
liable for "offenses against the honor and consideration due to persons 
and to the organs of sovereignty."  In January the Government warned 
ethnic Bakongos not to commemorate the second anniversary of the January 
1993 "bloody Friday" massacre of Bakongos by military, police, and armed 
civilians. 
 
UNITA did not allow free assembly and association in areas under its 
control. 
 
   c.   Freedom of Religion 
 
The Constitution provides for freedom of religion, including the 
separation of church and state, and the Government respects this right 
in practice.  However, in October the Government published an order 
prohibiting the practice of religious activity outside of expressly 
approved locations.  The order appeared to be aimed at Protestant 
evangelical churches, but it was unclear at year's end how it would be 
enforced.   
 
   d.   Freedom of Movement Within the Country, Foreign Travel, 
Emigration, and Repatriation 
 
The Constitution provides for freedom of movement and residence within 
Angola and freedom of exit from and entry into the country, but the 
Government does not respect these rights in practice.  As part of the 
peace process both the Government and UNITA committed themselves to 
allow the free circulation of people and goods, but local authorities 
and military commanders continued to restrict movement in many areas.  
Nevertheless, several major roads were demined and opened to traffic, 
and part of Angola's 850,000 internally displaced persons and 300,000 
refugees in neighboring countries began to return to their homes.  The 
Government continued to restrict travel of its citizens abroad, largely 
by limiting access to travel documents and exit visas, although the 
Government did allow resident senior UNITA leaders to travel abroad.   
 
There are approximately 10,300 Zairian refugees in Angola.  Angola is a 
signatory to both the United Nation's and Organization of African 
Unity's conventions on refugees, and the Government cooperates with the 
U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees.  An eligibility committee to 
evaluate asylum claims was established on paper in 1990, but it was 
first staffed in 1995 and has yet to meet.  There were no reports of 
forced expulsions of persons with valid claims to refugee status, 
although some people who were deported in course of the year for 
criminal violations claimed to be refugees.   
 
Section 3   Respect for Political Rights:  The Right of Citizens to 
Change Their Government 
 
The Constitution provides all adult citizens with the right to vote by 
secret ballot in direct, multiparty elections to choose the President of 
the Republic and deputies of the National Assembly.  The President is 
elected by absolute majority.  If no candidate obtains a majority of 
votes cast there is a runoff between the two candidates with the highest 
number of votes.  The National Assembly consists of 220 deputies, 130 
elected on a national basis and 90 elected to represent the provinces.  
Ruling power is concentrated in the President, who appoints a Prime 
Minister and other members of the Council of Ministers through which the 
President exercises executive power.  The  
 
Council can enact decree-laws, decrees, and resolutions, thereby 
controllng most functions normally associated with the legislative 
branch. 
 
The Angolan people exercised their new constitutional right to elect 
their government in September 1992 presidential and legislative 
elections.  President dos Santos won 49.5 percent of the votes and 
should have faced UNITA leader Savimbi in a run-off election.  UNITA and 
other parties accused the Government of massive electoral fraud, but 
United Nations' observers declared that the elections were generally 
free and fair and called on UNITA to accept the results.  The civil war 
resumed after UNITA rejected the election results, and the runoff in the 
presidential elections was postponed indefinitely.  Consequently, a 
small group within the MPLA has succeeded in maintaining a monopoly on 
government power.  As part of the peace process both parties agreed in 
1995 to amend the Constitution to provide for two vice-presidents; one 
of the two was offered to UNITA. 
 
The National Assembly exercises no meaningful power independent of the 
ruling executive structure.  Five of the 70 UNITA deputies elected to 
the National Assembly in the 1992 election took their seats in 1995.  
Several small parties are also represented in the National Assembly; 
however, few opposition deputies participated in National Assembly 
debate.  Some MPLA deputies admitted that National Assembly debate was 
frequently superfluous, and the Assembly simply rubber-stamped the 
Presidency's initiatives. 
 
In 1993 the Government prepared guidelines for local government 
elections, scheduled to take place 2 years after the 1992 presidential 
and legislative elections.  However the Council of Ministers took no 
action to implement these guidelines, effectively shelving local 
elections indefinitely. 
 
There are no legal barriers to the participation of women in the 
political process.  Women occupied 32 of the 220 National Assembly 
seats.  Five of 68 senior members of the Government are women, and 1 of 
the 9 Supreme Court judges is a woman.   
 
Section 4   Governmental Attitude Regarding International and 
Nongovernmental Investigation of Alleged Violations of Human Rights 
 
Both the Government and UNITA impede independent investigations of human 
rights abuses in territory they control.  Because of government 
suppression, there were no actively functioning Angolan human rights 
monitoring groups in 1995.  Shortly after the Angolan Human Rights 
Association (ADHA) published a report critical of conditions in Angola's 
prisons in January 1994, both its President, William Tonet, and its 
Secretary General, Lourenco Agostinho, were arrested on spurious 
charges.  William  
 
Tonet's trial was repeatedly postponed and remained pending at midyear.  
Agostinho remained in detention, and,at year's end, the Supreme Court 
had not yet responded to his appeal.  The Human Rights Committee of the 
National Assembly remained moribund.   
 
The UNAVEM Human Rights Unit and UNAVEM's military and civilian police 
observers were the only effective human rights monitors, but they did 
not make the conclusions of their investigations public.  Additionally, 
the Government and UNITA frequently interfered in UNAVEM's attempts to 
investigate complaints of human rights violations.  The Government 
granted the ICRC limited access to prisons in 1995.  However, both the 
Government and UNITA denied the ICRC access to people it believes are 
being held as prisoners (see Section 1.d.). 
 
Section 5   Discrimination Based on Race, Sex, Religion, Disability, 
Language, or Social Status 
 
Under the Constitution all citizens are equal before the law and enjoy 
the same rights and responsibilities regardless of color, race, 
ethnicity, sex, place of birth, religion, ideology, degree of education, 
or economic or social condition.  The Government does not have the 
ability to effectively enforce these provisions.   
 
   Women 
 
Violence against women is widespread and increasing.  A study by a 
renowned jurist indicated that one-third of all homicides were 
perpetrated against women, usually by their spouses.  There are credible 
reports that women are targets of violent crimes including rape and 
robbery in areas captured by government and UNITA soldiers.  Due to dire 
economic circumstances, increasing numbers of women engage in 
prostitution, and the clergy report that marriages are breaking down at 
an alarming rate.   
 
Despite Constitutional provisions women suffer from societal 
discrimination.  Some women hold senior positions in the military 
(primarily in the medical field), civil service, and political parties, 
but women are mostly relegated to low-level positions in state-run 
industries and in the small private sector.  The law provides for equal 
pay for equal work, but in practice women are not compensated equally.  
Adult women may open a bank account, accept employment, and own property 
without interference from their spouses.  Women also have the right to 
inherit property.  Upon the death of a male head of household, the widow 
automatically is entitled to 50 percent of any estate with the remainder 
divided equally among legitimate male and female children.   
 
In many cities women swell the ranks of the disabled because they often 
set off land mines while foraging in the fields for food and firewood to 
feed their families.   
 
   Children 
 
The Government gives only marginal attention to children's rights and 
welfare.  As noted in Section l.g., both the Government and UNITA 
forcibly conscript children as young as 12 into military service.  A 
great increase in the number of street children in Luanda and other 
cities resulted from the continuing breakdown of family structure caused 
by the resumption of the civil war in 1992 and the continuing 
deterioration of the economy.  Young girls often take jobs as domestic 
servants in private homes while young boys roam the market places and 
streets.  Living conditions in government youth hostels are so poor that 
the majority of homeless children prefer to sleep on city streets. 
 
The Government-sponsored National Institute for Children--viewed as an 
MPLA organ--has not seriously addressed the problems children face and 
has been indifferent toward efforts by international nongovernmental 
organizations to assist dispossessed youth.  There are no active private 
children's rights advocacy groups. 
 
Medical authorities say that some female genital mutilation (FGM), which 
is widely condemned by international health experts as damaging to both 
physical and psychological health, occurs in remote areas of Moxico 
Province, bordering Zaire and Zambia.  Government health workers 
sporadically have campaigned against the practice. 
 
   People with Disabilities 
 
The number of physically disabled persons in Angola includes an 
estimated 70,000 people who required amputations due to mine explosions.  
While there is no institutional discrimination against people with 
disabilities, the Government is doing little to improve their physical, 
financial, or social distress.  There is no legislation mandating 
accessibility for the disabled to public or private facilities, and, 
given the war-torn nature of the nation's infrastructure, it is 
difficult for the disabled to find employment or participate in the 
educational system. 
 
   National/Racial/Ethnic Minorities 
 
Angola's population includes 1 to 2 percent of Khoisan and other 
linguistically distinct hunter, gatherer tribes scattered throughout the 
southern provinces of Namibe, Cunene, and Cuando Cubango.  There is no 
evidence that they suffer from official discrimination or harassment, 
but they do not participate actively in the political or economic life 
of the country and have a marginal ability to influence government 
decisions concerning their interests.   
 
The long civil conflict has deep ethnic and urban versus rural roots.  
Many of the small number of white and mixed race Angolans who occupy 
technical and governmental positions have strongly backed the MPLA.  The 
Government accuses UNITA of exacerbating ethnic tensions by dwelling on 
the perceived colonial ties of these people.   
 
Section 6   Worker Rights 
 
   a.   The Right of Association 
 
The Constitution provides for the right to form and join trade unions, 
engage in union activity, and strike, but the Government does not 
respect these rights in practice.  The Government dominates the labor 
movement through the National Union of Angolan Workers (UNTA), the labor 
organ of the ruling MPLA.  The law requires that labor unions be 
recognized by the Government.  At least three independent labor unions, 
which have petitioned for recognition, have never received a response 
from the Government.  Restrictions on civil liberties effectively 
prevent any labor activity not approved by the Government. 
 
The Constitution provides for the right to strike, and legislation 
passed in 1991 provides the legal framework for, and strictly regulates 
the exercise of, that right.  The law prohibits lockouts and worker 
occupation of places of employment and provides protection for 
nonstriking workers.  It prohibits strikes by military and police 
personnel, prison workers, and firemen.  The law does not effectively 
prohibit employer retribution against strikers. 
 
There were wildcat strikes against the Government by teachers, doctors, 
nurses, airline personnel, and Justice Ministry civil servants, among 
others.  The Health and Education Ministries negotiated settlements but 
repeatedly failed to honor them because of lack of resources.  The 
Justice Ministry declared the strike by its civil servants illegal.  In 
September UNTA announced a planned 1-day general strike that was to have 
been the first labor action in its history.  However, the strike was 
canceled after the Government announced price controls on essential 
commodities and agreed to continue discussions with UNTA on other 
issues. 
 
   b.   The Right to Organize and Bargain Collectively 
 
The Constitution provides for the right to organize and the law provides 
for collective bargaining, but the Government does not respect these 
rights in practice.  The Government dominates the economy through state-
run enterprises and the Ministry of Public Administration, Employment 
and Social Security sets wages and benefits on an annual basis.  In the 
small private sector, wages are based on multiples of the minimum salary 
set by the Government.  Legislation prohibits discrimination against 
union members.  Union members' complaints are adjudicated in the regular 
civil courts.  Employers found guilty of antiunion discrimination are 
required to reinstate workers fired for union activities. 
 
There are no export processing zones. 
 
   c.   Prohibition of Forced or Compulsory Labor 
 
Current law authorizing forced labor for breaches of worker discipline 
and participation in strikes has been cited by the International Labor 
Organization as a violation of its Convention 105.   
 
   d.   Minimum Age for Employment of Children 
 
The legal minimum age for employment is 14.  The Inspector General of 
the Ministry of Public Administration, Employment, and Social Security 
is responsible for enforcing labor laws.  This Ministry maintains 
employment centers where prospective employees register, and these 
centers screen out applicants under the age of 14.  However, many 
younger children work on family farms, as domestic servants, and in the 
informal economy.  The survival of Angola's growing number of street 
children underscores the role of child labor in the informal urban 
economy. 
 
   e.   Acceptable Conditions of Work 
 
The minimum wage set by the Ministry of Public Administration, Labor and 
Social Security was equivalent to $0.67 (6,336 kwanzas reajustados) per 
month in September.  However, the Government does not enforce this 
standard.  Neither the minimum wage nor the average monthly salary 
equivalent to $6.14 (53,800 kwanzas reajustados) is sufficient to 
provide a decent living for a worker and family.  As a result, many 
wage-earners depend on the thriving informal sector, subsistence 
farming, theft, corruption, or support from relatives abroad in order to 
survive. 
 
A 1994 government decree established a 37-hour workweek.  However, 
inadequate resources prevented the Ministry of Public Administration, 
Employment, and Social Security from enforcing this standard or from 
enforcing occupational health and safety standards.  Workers cannot 
remove themselves from dangerous work situations without jeopardy to 
continued employment. 
 
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[end of document]

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