The latest in a series of brutal, forced evictions in Angola took place earlier this month when riot police swept through a provincial capital, Lubango, killing seven people, including four children between four and twelve years old.
Angolan national television has confirmed that some 3,800 families were driven from their homes which were then demolished. It is alleged that the eviction orders came from the Angolan government.
Such evictions have become a regular occurrence in recent years in the capital, Luanda, major cities such as Benguela, and rural communities in many provinces.
“Many houses have been demolished and many people evicted from their land in Angola because they are often in areas very rich in mineral resources or where there are strong economic interests,” said Ana Menezes, Christian Aid’s Angola programme officer.
“This is a major humanitarian emergency caused by a human rights violation.”
“Sadly, this is not an isolated case – this is part of a long-term pattern of violent, illegal land evictions and house demolitions.”
According to Christian Aid’s local Angolan partners, SOS Habitat and children’s rights lobby group, OMUNGA, riot police quickly surround an area to be demolished, then bulldozers move in.
“People in the Tchavola locality in Lubango are now sheltering in school precincts or have been forcibly taken to areas with an insufficient number of tents, in heavy rain. Some have been robbed by bandits at night due to the lack of protection and police supervision”, said José Patrocínio at OMUNGA.
“We call on the State of Angola to cease immediately the demolitions, and create a commission to evaluate alleged human rights’ abuses, and develop adequate compensation mechanisms for the people who have lost their homes and livelihoods.”
OMUNGA is planning a demonstration march in Benguela on Thursday March 25 in solidarity with the victims of this and other evictions and demolitions.