Angola: No Human Rights Abuses in Diamond Fields

The government of Angola has issued a statement refuting allegations of human rights abuses in its diamond fields.

The latest allegations came in a report, Legacy of a Resource-Fueled War: The Role of Generals in Angola’s Mining Sector, issued by Berlin-based NGO Bonn International Center for Conversion.

The statement notes that Angola has been the subject of numerous Kimberely Process review missions.

“In none of the Review Mission Reports any fact, direct or [in]direct, linked to violence around the artisanal diamond mining sector has been mentioned,” the statement says. “The last report of 2009 has recommended the Government of Angola for its positive contribution to the living standards of the people of the country and this following increased revenues from diamond mining activities. 

The statement also notes that the United Nations high commissioner for human rights Navi Pillay visited the diamond-rich provinces of Lunda Norte and Lunda Sul in April and said that Angola had made “significant progress” in its diamond fields.

“I fully accept that the irregular entry of tens of thousands of migrants into Angola every year, many of them seeking to dig illegally for diamonds, is causing major problems for [Angola],” it quotes Pillay as saying. “It also has a right to deport irregular migrants, but must do so humanely and in full compliance with international human rights laws and standards. I support efforts to tackle this extremely complex and difficult issue at a regional level, and have agreed to raise the issue of closer cooperation by the DRC, from where around 80 percent of the migrants entering Angola originate.”

His full comment can be seen here.

It adds: “At the same time the government of Angola remains fully committed to eradicate any form of Human Rights violations within the framework of humane and regular returns of the many illegal immigrants to their homes. As mentioned by the UN High Commissioner Navi Pillay, Angola welcomes the appointment of a Human Rights Advisor from the High Commissioner’s Office to assist and help whenever possible in that regard.” 

The Angolan government statement continues that it “questions the motives” behind the publication of the report, coming shortly before the recent KP Intercessional meeting in South Africa.

“Both the timing and the non-factual allegations make clear that the main driver behind the publication was to put pressure on reforms currently being addressed within the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme,” it says, adding that those reforms are not “currently is not supported by all KP Participants.”

This seems to be a reference to the desire of some NGOs to broaden the KP’s mandate to include human rights abuses.

The Angolan government’s full statement can be seen here

JCK interviewed Angolan human rights activist Rafael Marques de Morais in February 2012.

JCK News Director