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Human Rights violations were a key factor in undermining the Lusaka peace accords. Better human rights monitoring, reporting, and denouncing of rights abuses could have reduced the ability of both UNITA and the government to abuse Angolan's rights and facilitated attempts to hold those responsible accountable. The impunity with which rights were abused eroded confidence in the peace process and created a vicious cycle of rights abuse that steadily worsened.

The Quartering and Reintegration Process

In 1992 one of the main failures of the peace process was that UNITA failed to demobilize the majority of its fighters.31 During the Lusaka process the quartering and reintegration process was also slow.32 The operation started in earnest only in February 1996. It was incomplete and involved few key UNITA troops; conversely, many in the camps were civilians.

By the time of the swearing in ceremony of the new joint army on July 10, 1997 UNITA had quartered 70,660 troops in its fifteen camps for disbanded fighters. Of these, 10,899 troops, including generals and other senior officers were to join the new army. This number, however, fell short of the originally planned target of 26,300 UNITA personnel to be incorporated into the national armed forces. Under the Lusaka Protocol UNITA was also obliged to quarter 62,500 soldiers, but over 22,686 deserted after having registered. By December 11, 1996, when the quartering process officially ended, UNITA claimed a total of 41,796 UNITA soldiers had been demobilized.33 UNITA on this date declared that all its troops had been confined and their weapons turned over to U.N. peacekeepers. Because of doubts over the accuracy of this UNITA statement, UNITA made a second such statement in March 1998 following calls for clarification.34

A high proportion of those quartered had not been troops, but people conscripted to make up the numbers. U.N. figures show that 4,799 of these were under the age of eighteen and 10,728 were war-disabled soldiers. UNITA was alsoslow to quarter its self-proclaimed police force, despite strong demands from the U.N. that it do so. UNITA appeared to have replaced uniformed soldiers in some areas with persons that it claimed were police, even though the establishment of such a force was contrary to the provisions of the Lusaka Protocol. Estimates of the strength of this force vary from 5,000 to 15,000. The Lusaka Protocol also provided for the incorporation of 4,962 UNITA members, including 180 officers into the National Police so that the latter could function as a non-partisan institution. In July 1997 UNITA finally provided the U.N. with figures of the size of Jonas Savimbi's security guard and the so-called "mining police," citing the total strength of both forces as 2,963. However, the minister of defense asserted that UNITA had still some 35,000 armed personnel under its control.

Registration and disarmament of so-called "residual" UNITA personnel was concluded on December 22, 1997. A total of 7,977 UNITA soldiers registered, while 7,234 weapons and 57 million rounds of ammunition of different calibers were handed in.

Paul Hare, the U.S. special envoy for the Angolan peace process wrote about this situation, explaining that:

Many observers had believed that UNITA would maintain a residual military force as a form of insurance against unilateral actions by the government or the collapse of the peace process. The real question focused on intentions and capabilities. Was UNITA's purpose to retain a defensive capability only until the overall political and military situation became clearer? Or did UNITA intend to keep an offensive military capability in order to strike at the government again?

No one knew the answer to these questions. Given the paucity and conflicting nature of information available to the United Nations and the observers, we could only speculate. So much depended on the calculations and decisions of one man: Jonas Savimbi. The only proposition that seemed credible was that as the peace process moved forward in fits and starts and as the government's military power grew stronger, UNITA's room for maneuvering would steadily diminish.35

But Human Rights Watch field investigations in 1998 showed that many U.N. officials in the quartering areas knew that UNITA was not demobilizing its troops and that they had not been disarmed.

Danielle Faure was one of the senior U.N. officials in Lumége quartering area for UNITA soldiers. She registered the soldiers for demobilization and organized their supplies and food, earning her the title of "Iron Lady" by the UNITA troops. She told Human Rights Watch:

It was clear in the quartering area that UNITA was keeping a tight control on its men. The quartering area was mixed with true UNITA soldiers, civilians that had been grabbed and other unfortunate people. I even found a handful of government soldiers that had been prisoners in UNITA areas and had been entered by UNITA as their troops to reach their quota. The majority of UNITA soldiers wanted to demobilize and occasionally in a private moment one could have a more honest conversation about this. But for most of the time the officers kept a tight grip on the rank and file and even arranged the destination that they would request to go for demobilization - always an area under UNITA control. On one occasion I was quietly asked by one soldier to help. He wanted to go home to Luanda. So I arranged to change the list at the last moment just prior to his departure and he went to his requested destination, to hard stares from Colonel Alaleuha who could not believe what was happening.

Regarding weapons, the guns were a mixed bunch-we even had a Mauser and hand-made things. Nobody believed UNITA was handing in their real weapons.36

UNITA was also stockpiling its weapons and repairing them. Accounts from UNITA areas in 1996, 1997, and 1998 talk of replenishing and maintenance of arsenals. JC worked in one of these bases and continues to be a UNITA soldier. He explained that:

Although we rested a lot in 1995, in 1996 and 1997 we spent much time replenishing our supplies and ensuring that we would be in a strong situation. We have fuel and weapons storage facilities in many secret locations. Few people know where they are. This year [1998] we are training-on what we have. We are waiting for orders because we know that a war is coming. We never handed over any of our best equipment. Why? We needed it and if we didn't we could make money by sellingit to traders. There are markets for our weapons in the Congos, and South Africa.37

UNITA also began intensive military training for men and boys in 1998. A number of sources told Human Rights Watch that starting in 1997 but with increased pace in 1998 they were called to UNITA bases for "dancing."38 This in practice meant logistic support work or military training. VL is a twenty-seven year old. He fled to Zambia in 1998 because of fear of forced recruitment by UNITA. He had seen many of his friends being grabbed by UNITA who had been using people as young as fourteen years old as porters. In June, in the Cazombo area, UNITA picked up people and put them into trucks which then took people away. He explained:

Until June, things were not too bad. The main thing UNITA did was to tell us in meetings not to talk about them. We knew that they had weapons, including big guns with wheels hidden in the bush, but we didn't want trouble. So we didn't tell anyone. Now and again UNITA would test us. We were forced to dance and sing at their parties and to carry their supplies for long distances. UNITA came to the villages and took down the names of young people to dance and sing at parties and if your name is read out and you don't present yourself at the dance you are punished or your family suffers. This dancing is training, we have to do exercises with weapons.39

Government Quartering and Demobilization

In March 1997 it was also increasingly evident that the government's Rapid Intervention Police (or "Ninjas") were also being discreetly redeployed rather than confined to barracks. The government had quartered 5,450 rapid reaction police in thirteen locations. However, in June to August the government deployed 424 rapid reaction police in Lunda Sul and Lunda Norte provinces without informing the U.N. and declared its intention to terminate the quartering of the rapid reaction police nationwide in reaction to UNITA. U.N. and Troika pressure on the government stopped this but military training of police personnel was observed by the U.N. indicating that the government might be attempting to prepare civilianpolice for tasks not compatible with their normal duties. In 1998, there was a renewed problem of police being used in military-type operations, especially in areas where state administration had only recently been restored.

The government did demobilize some of its forces. Although it launched a program for social reintegration of demobilized soldiers in August 1996, it was only in late 1997 that it actually became operational. By 1998, some 16,000 former soldiers had registered, despite delays in the delivery of government subsidies, confiscations by unauthorized personnel of demobilization documents of ex-combatants, and ex-soldiers being concentrated in areas they did not choose.

Government and UNITA Restrictions on the U.N.

Both parties, but particularly UNITA, imposed restrictions on U.N. verification activities. The government also failed at times to provide information on troop and military equipment movements and on occasions U.N. military observers were stopped from conducting inspections. Armed UNITA personnel detained a U.N. investigation team and their helicopter for over twenty-four hours at Calibuitchi on July 11 and 12, 1997 and a U.N. team attempt to verify allegations that UNITA was storing weapons in eight containers at Chingongo on July 12 was also stopped. A World Food Program helicopter was also arbitrarily detained by armed UNITA soldiers in June 1997 in Moxico province.

Planting of New Landmines40

Angola signed the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on their Destruction on December 4 1997, but has yet to ratify it. As the country returned to war in 1998, both government and UNITA forces have been using antipersonnel landmines. The International Campaign to Ban Landmines has condemned both sides for use of AP mines, but has expressed particular dismay at the Angolan government's disregard for its international commitments. Though the Mine Ban Treaty has not entered into force for Angola, the use of mines by a signatory contravenes its international obligations. Under article 18 of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, "a state is obliged to refrain from acts which would defeat the purpose of a treaty has signed the treaty." Clearly, new use of mines defeats the purpose of the treaty.

The renewed use of mines also flies in the face of Angola's strong rhetorical support of an antipersonnel landmines ban. The government first publicly stated its support for a total prohibition of antipersonnel mines in 1996 at the end of the Convention on Conventional Weapons conference, when Angolan Ambassador Parreira announced in the final plenary session that "the government of Angola supports a total prohibition of all types of antipersonnel mines." Angola was also active in the Ottawa Process that produced the treaty. It endorsed the pro-treaty Brussels Declaration and participated in treaty negotiations in Oslo. It voted for the pro-ban U.N. General Assembly resolution in 1996 and in 1998.

In Ottawa during the treaty signing ceremony, Angola's then vice-Foreign Minister Georges Chikoti said:

Coming from Angola, a victim country of landmines, and being present at this important day for the signing ceremony, is not only a logical accomplishment for my government but also an opportunity to underline the expectations of the thousands of Angolan children, men and women, victims of this deadly, destructive and coward weapon...It is mainly in the name of all these people that my government has taken a strong commitment to achieve a global ban on antipersonnel landmines...Before I conclude I wish to reiterate that the Angolan government is ready to cooperate as it has always done with the international community and all partners of this treaty who really want it to be implemented over all the Angolan territory including those areas under UNITA control, in order to achieve total peace.41

These words ring hollow in light of the government's continued use of antipersonnel landmines. It is clear that the government is in no hurry to ratify or implement the Mine Ban Treaty. At a British Red Cross meeting, Minister for Social Assistance Albino Malungo was asked by Human Rights Watch about Angolan plans for ratification. The minister warned that article one could not be ratified, even if the rest of the treaty might be (although such a partial "ratification" would not be valid.)42 However, in November 1998 Mrs. Josefa Coelho da Cruz of the Permanent Mission of Angola to the U.N. announced that "the fact that Angola has not yet ratified the Ottawa Treaty, in which it participated actively during allthe preparatory phases, does not imply indifference or a change of attitude vis a vis this scourge. The document is already in the parliament for ratification."43

Although the Angolan government signed the Mine Ban Treaty in December 1997 it has since been responsible for systematically laying new mines and minefields. Human Rights Watch was an eyewitness to this in 1998 and received numerous reports in 1999 of renewed landmine warfare in central and northern Angola.44 These included: (1) seeing new minefields being prepared in Luena in August 1998, and also establishing that the provincial authorities had refused to allow mine clearance operations in these areas;45 (2) interviewing newly-arrived refugees in Zambia who said that the Angolan National Police had protected their police station in Cazombo by putting landmines in their roof;46 and (3) speaking with Angolan soldiers who admitted to planting landmines under orders in August 1998 during operations in Piri and in Uige.47

On December 2, 1998, the Jesuit Refugee Service, Mines Advisory Group, Medico International, and the Vietnam Veterans of America Foundation published an open letter to the government and UNITA calling upon both sides to stop using landmines, noting that in Moxico province landmines had maimed or killed sixty-six persons since June 1998. The organizations wrote: "Demining is forbidden. Even to mark minefields is forbidden! This is the primary cause for many to step on mines in areas formerly safe - civilians as well as military." The letter also stated that in this period, UNITA was laying mines along roads and the government relaid a defensive minebelt around the town.48 In mid-1999 minelaying continues, with reports of new minefields around Kuito, on roads and agricultural land around Huambo by UNITA, and around the airport by the government.49

The European Union, in a December 28, 1998 declaration, expressed its "grave concern" about the impasse in the peace process which has resulted in "a serious deterioration of the overall political, military, security, social, and economic situation in Angola...Against this background, the E.U. regrets the increase in minelaying activity in Angola, a country that so far has been a major focus of the Union's demining efforts in Africa. The E.U. calls on the Government of Angola as a signatory of the Ottawa Convention and particularly UNITA to cease mine laying activity immediately and to ensure that valid records exist so that these weapons can be removed.50 In July 1999, the E.U. in a declaration by its Presidency called upon "the government, as a signatory of the Ottawa Convention, but in particular on UNITA, to cease mine laying activities immediately."51 Additionally, South Africa suspended its assistance to Angolan demining operations in January 1999 because of new laying of mines.52

In 1999, each side has blamed the other for laying new mines: some twenty reports are on file with Human Rights Watch. The following are just three examples: (1) Vice-Governor Simeao Dembo said on December 10, 1998 that UNITA had laid 7,000 new mines in areas of Uige province;53 (2) UNITA reported that ten of its troops had been killed and twenty-five injured in a government minefield near Kunge (Bie) on 16 December 1998;54 and (3), in January 1999, a Portuguese journalist was shown evidence by government soldiers of what they called new mining at Vila Nova (Huambo), which had just been retaken from UNITA rebels.55

At the first meeting of the State Signatories of the Ottawa Landmine Ban Treaty in Maputo on May 3-7, 1999, the Angolan government delegation arrived only on the eve of the closing day and attempted to avoid discussing the new use of landmines in Angola. Vice Foreign Minister Toko Serrão justified the government's use of landmines by saying "we remain committed to the noble objectives of the treaty. But we are at war right now."56 The government argued that it mines to protect strategic installations like dams and electricity pylons and that these are mapped and will be cleared later by the army at no cost to theinternational community. While UNITA rebels mine farmland and roads without mapping them.57

According to Norwegian People's Aid (NPA), the extent of the latest mine laying has been "exaggerated" and the maiming of people fleeing fighting and accidents reported are mainly from mines planted in the past. NPA also reports that the government has provided it with some information on where it has planted new landmines.58


There were many acts of banditry by people in uniforms during the Lusaka peace process. Often it was impossible to conclude who these people actually were and who they took their commands from. This was made more difficult because of a robust trade in second hand clothing, some of it military and police uniforms.

The security environment remained volatile in many parts of the country. In late 1996 and 1997 dozens of civilians were attacked, often in highway ambushes and killed by unidentified gunmen. Some of these incidents have occurred near assembly areas. In 1998 incidents of banditry were particularly bad in Benguela and Huila provinces.

The availability of weapons contributed to a significant rise in armed crime and banditry with the situation in Benguela and Lunda Sul provinces being particularly bad. The government was expected under the Lusaka Protocol to disarm the civilians it armed in 1992, when up to a million AK-47s in Luanda alone were issued. The numbers handed over to police by mid-year were disappointing: 102 crew-served weapons, 2,642 firearms of various types, and 21,100 rounds of ammunition. In August 1997 the government announced its suspension of disarmament of the civilian population pending the completion of the normalization of state administration. It insisted that the civilian population in both government and UNITA-controlled areas be disarmed simultaneously.

The government's so-called anti-banditry campaign in late 1997 in Benguela, Huila, and Huambo provinces had to be abandoned because the government acknowledged that its own security forces were out of control.

With inflation reaching over 3,000 per cent a year in 1996 and a spate of strikes by government workers the government feared serious rioting in Luanda in June and embarked on aggressive policing with its Rapid Intervention Police. President dos Santos fired Prime Minister Marcolino Moco and the governor of the National Bank of Angola in late May 1996 and announced a significantgovernment reshuffle in June in an effort to further reduce tensions in the city. In August 1996 the government launched "Operation Cancer Two," attributing its crime control problems to West African and Lebanese immigrants, rounding up over 2,000 West African passport holders and Lebanese in Luanda and ordering their summary expulsion.

In Luanda politically and economically motivated violence by state security forces and common criminal violence were often indistinguishable. A large number of violent crimes, including robbery, vehicle hijackings, assault and kidnapping, rape, and murder were committed by members of the military and police both in and out of uniform. The government's Rapid Intervention Police-"Ninjas"-were also reported in 1997 and 1998 to have summarily executed people caught in the act of committing crimes. There have also been gun battles between police and military or with bandit groups in the suburbs resulting in significant numbers of civilian casualties.59

Growth of Separatism

The oil-rich enclave of Cabinda is where 60 percent of Angola's oil comes from. It is also the scene of an often forgotten violent separatist conflict. Fighting started in Cabinda in 1975 when Zaire-trained Front for the Liberation of the Cabindan Enclave (FLEC) factions invaded Cabinda. FLEC claims to be fighting for independence and a greater cut of the oil revenue generated from the enclave. They were crushed by a joint government and Cuban force in January 1976 and ever since there has been a low-level separatist war. President Mobutu of Zaire continued to support the separatists officially until 1978, when he signed a treaty with Angola. Then, until his overthrow in May 1997, Mobutu turned a blind eye to FLEC's activities, allowing his officials to take a percentage of ransom and protection payments received in the enclave by the separatists.

The government has entered into negotiations with the leaders of the separatist groups, offering them funds and positions of patronage in return for peace. The government restarted negotiations in 1995 with the armed factions FLEC-R (Renovada), FLEC-FAC (Armed Forces of Cabinda) and FDC (Democratic Front of Cabinda). But in 1997 these negotiations appeared to break down, with a truce between FLEC-R collapsing and FLEC-FAC increasing its military actions in the north of the enclave. There is also a tradition of kidnapping for ransom payments. In February 1997 a Malaysian national working with theMalaysian timber company Inwangsa SDN died after being kidnapped by FLEC-FAC. His companion was eventually released on payment of a U.S.$400,000 ransom. A new spate of kidnappings in April 1998 saw two Portuguese and nine Angolans abducted by FLEC-FAC. They too were released later in the year for an alleged fee of U.S.$500,000.60 Abduction continues in 1999. On March 10, 1999 five people, two Frenchmen, two Portuguese, and an Angolan were feared kidnapped by FLEC separatists. They were working for Byansol, a French engineering company attached to the oil industry.61 FLEC-R freed the Angolan and the four foreign citizens were released on July 7 freed by an Angolan army elite unit. Ten days before, on June 27 Antonio Bembe, the leader of FLEC-R went to a remote area of Cabinda after being promised a $12.5 million payment for the two Portuguese and two French hostages. Instead, Bembe and his accompanying military guard were captured by Angolan forces.62 FLEC-R had threatened to kill the hostages if the Angolan government attempts military action to obtain their release.63 The Lusa news agency reports that FLEC rebels opened fire on a civilian vehicle and killed four people and injured six others near Miconge on June 13, 1999.64 The Angolan military also reports that FLEC-FAC has kidnapped at least seventy young men of military age from local villages in May.65

The government appears to have decided that there is no longer a need to negotiate with the separatists and detained the leadership of all three armed factions in the course of its military actions in Congo-Brazzaville and in Kinshasa. The breakdown of negotiations has resulted in an upturn of fighting in Cabinda. In 1999 the security situation in Cabinda remains highly volatile, with an estimated 3,000 Cabindans pushed in from the Congos after the FAA launched operations against them there. A World Food Program assessment mission to investigate the possibility of assisting noncombatants in this forced repatriation visited Cabinda in January 1998 but was denied permission by the governor to leave the provincial capital.66 Afonso Justino Waco, a protestant cleric, was arrested in Cabinda city inAugust 1998 after giving a radio interview and accused of defaming the government. He was regarded by Amnesty International as a prisoner of conscience. He was released five days later and is now living in Denmark, where he obtained political asylum. Also in Cabinda, a catholic priest preached a sermon in September 1998 mentioning FLEC, resulting in the provincial delegate of the Ministry of Interior writing to the bishop of Cabinda warning that the Ministry of Interior would not take responsibility for what would happen if the priest did not change his behavior.67

Support for independence is strong in Cabinda: the majority of Cabindans boycotted the 1992 multiparty elections in protest at Luanda's iron-fisted grip on social and political life in the enclave.

31 Margaret Anstee, Orphan of the Cold War (London: Macmillan, 1996).

32 Creative Associates, Angola Quartering Process: Taking Stock, One Year After the Lusaka Accords (Washington DC: Creative Associates Documentation Unit, December 1995).

33 Paul Hare, Angola's Last Best Chance for Peace: an insider's account of the peace process (Washington DC: U.S. Institute of Peace Press, 1998), pp.98-105.

34 Voice of the Resistance of the Black Cockeral, Jamba, in Portuguese, 1900 gmt, March 6, 1998.

35 Ibid.

36 Human Rights Watch interview, Paris, November 1, 1998.

37 Human Rights Watch interview, southern Africa, August 1998.

38 Human Rights Watch interview, southern Africa, July 1998.

39 Human Rights Watch interview, southern Africa, August 1998.

40 For a full discussion on landmines in Angola see, Human Rights Watch Arms Project, Still Killing. Landmines in Southern Africa (New York: Human Rights Watch, 1997), pp.16-57; International Campaign to Ban Landmines, Landmine Monitor Report 1999: Toward a Mine-Free World (New York: Human Rights Watch, 1999), pp.111-132.

41 Statement Made by H.E. Vice-Foreign Minister Georges Chikoti, Ottawa, December 4, 1997.

42 Interview with Albino Malungo, London, July 1998.

43 Statement by Mrs. Josefa da Cruz, Minister Counsellor of the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Angola to the United Nations at the United Nations Plenary Meeting on Agenda Item (42) Assistance in Mine Clearance, November 17, 1998.

44 Human Rights Watch field work in Angola in August 1998.

45 Ibid.

46 Human Rights Watch field work in Zambia in July 1998.

47 Human Rights Watch field work in Angola in August 1998.

48 JRS, MAG, MI, VVAF, "Landmines in Moxico Kill and Main 66 Persons since June: Open Letter to the Angolan Government and UNITA," Luena, November 1998.

49 Sunday Times (London), July 4, 1999.

50 European Union, "Declaration by the Presidency on behalf of the European Union on Angola," Vienna, 28 December 1998. The declaration noted that "The Central and Eastern European countries associated with the European Union, the associated country Cyprus and the EFTA countries, members of the European Economic Area align themselves with this declaration."

51 European Council of Minister Press Release: 10130/99, July 22, 1999.

52 Rádio Nacional de Angola, Luanda, 1900 GMT, 11 January 1999.

53 Lusa news agency (Macão), December 10, 1998.

54 UNITA Standing Committee of Political Commission, Bailundo, December 17, 1998,

55 Jornal de Noticias (Lisbon), January 21, 1999.

56 Inter Press Service, May 19, 1999

57 Human Rights Watch interview with Angolan delegate, Maputo, May 6, 1999.

58 IRIN, "Angola: IRIN Special Report landmine crisis [19990602]," June 2, 1999.

59 For a discussion of the economy and the challenges it puts on conflict resolution see: Saferworld, Angola: Conflict Resolution and Peace-building, Saferworld Report, September 1996, pp.1-52.

60 Agora (Luanda), June 27, 1998.

61 Associated Press (AP) news agency, March 10, 1999.

62 AP, July 11, 1999; Público (Lisbon), July 9, 1999.

63 Público (Lisbon), April 22, 1999. FLEC-FAC threatened to kill the Portuguese hostages on July 2 unless Lisbon began negotiations for their release. RDP Antena 1 radio, Lisbon, in Portuguese 1400 gmt, July 2, 1999.

64 Lusa (Macão), June 13, 1999.

65 Lusa (Macão), June 7, 1999.

66 Amnesty International, "Angola: Extrajudicial executions and torture in Cabinda," AI Index: Afr 12/02/98, April 1998; Amnesty International, "Extrajudicial executions - fear of further killings," AI Index: Afr 12/07/98, September 1998.

67 Amnesty International, "Human rights - the gateway to peace," AI Index Afr 12/01/99, February 1999; Agora (Luanda), August 29, 1998.

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