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Startseite Urgent Actions 2020 05 Activists facing harassment and intimidation
UA 071/20
Angola
Abgeschlossen am 24. Juni 2020

Activists facing harassment and intimidation

AI-Index: AFR 12/2302/2020

Members of the non-governmental organisation Mission of Beneficence Agriculture of Kubando, Inclusive Technologies and Environment (MBAKITA) are facing harassment and intimidation, including death threats and attacks, in Cuando Cubango province, Southern Angola, because of their work for the defence and promotion of the rights of people from ethnic minorities in Southern Angola.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

The NGO MBAKITA has worked since 2002 to defend the rights of San people and traditional communities in the southern provinces of Angola. Since 2018, MBAKITA's members have been increasingly subjected to intimidation, harassment, torture, enforced disappearances and even killings in suspicious circumstances. Perpetrators of the attacks have continued to carry out these attacks with impunity. To this day, the authorities have failed to investigate the threats and attacks adequately, and no one has been held accountable.

On 16 April, Mr. Pascoal received an anonymous call with the message: «We know the vehicle that has been travelling to the communities, and we will cut your legs». That evening, the organisation’s car was vandalized, making it impossible for MBAKITA members to visit communities.

On 17 April, at about 1:30 am, three masked armed men broke into the home of Pascoal Baptistiny. They immobilised the two security guards at his residence, entered the house and took two computers, a video camera, memory cards and cell phones.

On the night of 23 April, unidentified men broke into the home of Mr. Pascoal, broke the house's external spotlights, immobilised the security guards, and stole one computer.

On the night of 12 May, two unidentified men attempted to break into Mr. Pascoal's home. The night before, two unknown men had also tried to break into his residence, the security guards were able to prevent the two men from getting inside. Mr. Pascoal called the police, who took two hours to arrive at his home.

We are concerned that that series of recent attacks against Mr. Pascoal and MBAKITA members may be connected to Amnesty International’s publication on 15 April about the police’s assault against nine MBAKITA members and their arbitrary detention on 2 April during a COVID-19 prevention campaign in Cuando Cubango.

These recent incidents are part of a repeated pattern of harassment and intimidation against MBAKITA members in Cuando Cubango province. The members of the organizations and their families have been targeted with death threats and physical attacks. Fearing for the families’ safety, MBAKITA has decided not to publicly denounce the attacks.

The catholic church has also been targeted with increasing harassment for their human rights work. On the night of 28 April, three unidentified men broke into Radio Eclésia, a Catholic Church radio station, and vandalized the broadcast equipment. Radio Eclésia was unable to broadcast independent news between 29 and 30 April.

On 11 April, national police officers arrested Father Júlio Alberto Carlos, a Menongue diocesan, without a warrant in his residence at the Centro Pastoral Cristo Rei, Menongue city. Father Júlio has been vocal for the respect and protection of San’s people rights. The Judge of the Menongue Court summarily condemned Father Júlio Alberto Carlos who was released after the payment of a penalty.

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