Centre for Human Rights urges Angola to immediately and impartially investigate unlawful killing

Posted on August 23, 2016

The Centre for Human Rights (CHR) in the Faculty of Law at the University of Pretoria is saddened by the fatal shooting of 14-year-old Rufino Antonio by members of the Angolan military police during a peaceful protest in Luanda on 6 August 2016.

The peaceful protests, organised by local residents in response to planned demolition for commercial and industrial purposes by the Luanda-Bengo Special Economic Zone, turned violent when members of the military police opened fire on unarmed protesters, killing the young Rufino.

The deployment of military police to peaceful protests brings to light not only the continued and ongoing, systematic failure of Angolan state institutions to deal with legitimate human rights concerns, but also the unnecessary and inappropriate use of force by security services. Recently, security services have brutally clamped down on peaceful gatherings. Many are arrested and detained for gathering in public places without the consent of the provincial government.

Despite the 2010 Angolan Constitution protecting freedom of expression and speech in article 40 and freedom of assembly of persons in article 47, security forces have been known to impede exercise of these rights, thereby violating the law. Angola is a party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, and other international and regional instruments. Angola is therefore bound by both international and national law to respect the rights of persons to conduct peaceful protests.

The unprecedented level of protest action in Angola precipitated by the crash in the oil markets brings to the surface wider concerns of the general human rights conditions in that country.

In light of this event, the Centre for Human Rights urges Angola to:

  • comply with its international human rights obligations,
  • immediately and impartially investigate and punish those responsible,
  • work towards creating spaces for the free exchange of ideas without fear, and
  • uphold its commitment to the values and fundamental principles of a democratic state based on the rule of law, pluralism of political expression and organisation as enshrined within the 2010 Angolan Constitution.

The Centre also calls upon the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights to play a more active role in ensuring Angola abides by its obligations under the African Charter, and to include issues raised here in its scheduled mission to Angola.


For more information, please contact:

Mr Eduardo Kapapelo
Centre for Human Rights
University of Pretoria
Tel: +27 (0) 12 420 5408


- Author Centre for Human Rights

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