Angola Battles Human Rights Groups: The Government of Oil-Rich Angola and Human Rights Organisations Are Locked in Combat over Claims of Harsh Treatment of Migrant Workers and Financial Scandals in the Oil Industry. Milan Vesely Has the Details

By Vesely, Milan | African Business, June 2004 | Go to article overview

Angola Battles Human Rights Groups: The Government of Oil-Rich Angola and Human Rights Organisations Are Locked in Combat over Claims of Harsh Treatment of Migrant Workers and Financial Scandals in the Oil Industry. Milan Vesely Has the Details


Vesely, Milan, African Business


The Angolan government is in a face-off with the US-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) and the UK-based Global Witness (GW) over its handling of oil revenues and its treatment of foreign diamond diggers, commonly known as 'garimpeiros'.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

In doing so it has come under the scrutiny of IMF officials who last year sent a team to Luanda to investigate reports than $900m of oil money had gone into secret accounts abroad.

"While ordinary Angolans suffered through a profound humanitarian crisis, their government oversaw the suspicious disappearance of truly colossal sums of money," Arvind Ganesan, director of the Business and Human Rights Programme at the HRW group said. Claiming that the "Luanda government has committed acts of barbarism against those foreigner diamond diggers being expelled," he urged Angola to heed the organisation's call to investigate the matter.

A massive inflow of refugees into Angola from the neighboring countries followed the ending of 27 years of hostilities between UNITA and the MPLA in 2002. Among these were considerable numbers of Namibians, Zambians, Zimbabweans and many others from as far afield as the DRC, Mali and Burundi.

It is these foreign workers that the government wants to expel and, according to a government spokesman, some 11,000 have been deported in a massive operation in the Kibala, Mussende and Libolo districts of Kwanza South province since December alone.

Warning that there had been a massive inflow of non-Angolans into the diamond digging sector in particular, the government clamped down by arresting and deporting some additional 700 'garimpeiros' in a follow-up operation. "In the course of this operation," HRW claims, "the Angolan Army committed atrocities against those being expelled."

LEGITIMATE ACTS OF SOVEREIGNTY?

The Angolan government defends its actions as legitimate acts of "sovereignty in defense of the economy," and accuses HRW of exaggerating the issue.

Admitting that some 'excesses' may have been committed in the operation conducted jointly by the police and army, Angola's Interior Minister Osvaldo Serra Van-Dunem said that Angola had the right to defend its valuable diamond fields from illegal exploitation. "Many of the foreigners are smuggling the illegally mined diamonds out of Angola and the state does not earn any revenue from them," he said, in justifying his government's action. "This is unacceptable."

The Angolan operation destroyed 3,400 miners' huts and seized firearms and equipment such as generators, sieves, scales and satellite telephones. In addition, army personnel confiscated a considerable amount of supplies, among which were some dangerous chemicals.

How many actual diamonds were confiscated has not been specified, neither has the procedure for how these stones would be disposed off been explained. An official from the state diamond company would only say that indigenous Angolans would be registered in the near future so that they could start working legally again. He declined to say whether they would be permitted to work for themselves, or be obliged to work under a government contract scheme.

The latest tussle between HRW and the Angolan President Dos Santos' government is just one more in a string of verbal clashes between human rights organisations and the Luanda authorities--the most recent regarding corruption in the state oil company Sonangol.

The Washington-based group accused the Angolan government of corruption in the loss of $4bn of oil revenues. Claiming that the money had gone missing from 1997-2002, HRW pointed out that this lost sum was the equivalent to the total amount spent by the government on social services during the same period. For its part, the Angolan government issued a statement disputing the group's accusations.

"The government can't be held responsible for estimated income that is based on non-credible sources, bearing in mind that none of the international financial institutions have to date proven those accusations," the statement read. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Angola Battles Human Rights Groups: The Government of Oil-Rich Angola and Human Rights Organisations Are Locked in Combat over Claims of Harsh Treatment of Migrant Workers and Financial Scandals in the Oil Industry. Milan Vesely Has the Details
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.