Concerned at evictions, UN calls on Angola to comply with human rights laws

Source: UN News Center, based on the Statement by the Special Rapporteur on Adequate Housing

March 30th: Expressing “serious concern” about persistent and forced evictions in Angola, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on adequate housing today called on the country’s Government to comply with its human rights obligations and promptly act on this “gross violation of human rights.”

Miloon Kothari, who was appointed by the UN Commission on Human Rights, said that “large-scale forced evictions have been on-going on in Angola for many years,” but he was particularly concerned by the more recent and reportedly violent cases in the capital Luanda, and also by the fact that the Government had postponed his planned visit to the country.

“In my capacity as Special Rapporteur on adequate housing appointed by the UN Commission on Human Rights, I have been following closely for some time the situation with respect to housing rights in Angola, particularly in light of the persisting practice of forced evictions in Luanda.

“I have brought my concerns to the attention of the national authorities, but no response has been received yet and the most recent events suggest that such appeals are not being taken into account. I am particularly concerned in light of the fact that my previously planned official visit to the country has been postponed and has not yet been rescheduled by the Government.”

Citing specific examples, Mr. Kothari said that hundreds of families were affected at the end of last year when the Luanda Provincial Government undertook “forced evictions and demolitions of homes” in the municipality of Kilamba Kiaxi in the capital.

“Over 600 families were affected by forced evictions for the purpose of implementing the governmental housing project Nova Vida,” he said, adding that those remaining in several of the neighbourhoods were then reportedly evicted earlier this month.

“Reports indicated that members of the National Police Force, provincial inspectors as well as agents of a private security company shot into the crowd of residents, kicked and hit people with guns and whips. The law enforcement agents allegedly acted with excessive use of force.”

Mr. Kothari said that he had repeatedly drawn attention to the “worrying practice of forced evictions worldwide,” and had recently developed a set of guidelines aimed at assisting States in developing policies to prevent forced evictions which he had also shared with Angolan authorities.

“I call on the Angola Government to take immediate steps to comply with its human rights obligations and to promptly act on this now public appeal,” said the expert, who serves in his personal capacity and is unpaid.