Angola

Angola: Human rights abuses

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JOHANNESBURG, 16 December (IRIN) - Human rights abuses by government forces and UNITA rebels are continuing unabated in Angola where sexual slavery, rape, summary executions, looting and starvation have become a hallmark of the nation's 25-year civil war, according to a new report released by the New York-based NGO, Human Rights Watch (HRW).
The author of the report, Alex Vines, told IRIN on Thursday that the abuses also included the increasing use of landmines, growing violence against civilians as well as the failure of the UN to act.

Vines, who travelled to Luanda this week to present the report, said he had been researching the crisis in Angola for the past five years. "There have clearly been abuses by both sides in this conflict, and the rebels have been able to engage in sanctions busting with the help of people flying weapons and supplies to UNITA territory from Europe via a number of African countries," he said.

Until government forces had routed UNITA rebels from their strongholds in Angola's central highlands during an offensive which started in October, the report documented examples of aircraft flying from Ukraine, Russia, Moldavia, France, Sierra Leone, Uganda, and South Africa.

"We can only hope that the new UN drive to tighten the sanctions noose against UNITA will stop or at least seriously curtail these deliveries," Vines said. "HRW welcomes the new restrictions on Angolan diamond purchases and sales announced recently by the South African mining house De Beers."

In a separate report, the UN Food and Agriculture organisation (FAO) said this week that the war in Angola was "making an already precarious food situation even worse". In central and northern Angola, FAO cited "severe food supply difficulties and malnutrition" among the country's hundreds of thousands of displaced people.

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