Angola: ICJ condems the abduction of war veterans in Angola

The ICJ notes with concern reports of the alleged abduction of two war veterans, António Alves Kamulingue and Isaias Sebastião Cassule, in Luanda, on 27 and 29 May 2012 respectively.

They were abducted by a group of men who were dressed in civilian clothing and who have been instrumental in the violent suppression of peaceful demonstrations in Angola. Though this group of men has been reported to the police, it would appear that it acts with impunity. It is therefore feared that this group is associated or acts with the acquiescence of the internal security police of Angola.

It is reported that the war veterans were preparing to participate in demonstrations calling upon the government of Angola to pay pensions and salaries owed to them.

Furthermore, António Alves Kamulingue and Isaias Sebastião Cassule were also reportedly participants in certain anti-government demonstrations that have been taking place in Luanda since March 2011 and which have been violently suppressed.

The constitution of Angola requires that the Republic of Angola as a state, be based on the rule of law and upholds the protection and promotion of human rights. The rights to freedom of assembly and expression are specifically guaranteed, along with compliance with international instruments, which guarantee these rights, of which Angola is a state party.

Law enforcement agencies play an integral role in the protection of human rights and in taking action against human rights violators. Where law enforcement agencies neglect this critical duty, they contribute to the attack against the rule of law itself.

“People have the right to exercise their human rights and freedoms freely without intimidation, harassment or violent attacks against them. Members of society who boldly take on the role of human rights defenders are protected in terms of national, regional and international instruments”, said Arnold Tsunga, Director of the ICJ Africa Regional Programme. “Enforced disappearances are a severe violation of human rights principles and are banned completely under international law where they constitute a continuing crime until resolved.”

The ICJ calls upon the government of Angola to urgently:

  • Release António Alves Kamulingue and Isaias Sebastião Cassule, if indeed they are in the custody of the Angolan authorities;
  • Grant António Alves Kamulingue and Isaias Sebastião Cassule access to legal counsel and their families in the event that the are charged with a recognizable criminal offence;
  • Ensure that the matter of the enforced disappearance of António Alves Kamulingue and Isaias Sebastião Cassule is thoroughly investigated, in the event that they are not in the custody of the authorities;
  • Bring to justice those responsible for the abduction of António Alves Kamulingue and Isaias Sebastião Cassule.

 For further information: Arnold Tsunga, Director, ICJ Africa Regional Programme, e ; t +27 73 131 8411 or +27 11 024 8268

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