n African Security Review - International human rights protection in situations of conflict and post-conflict : a case study of Angola : feature

Volume 13, Issue 4
  • ISSN : 1024-6029
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This paper considers the effectiveness of Angolan government and United Nations (UN) and non-governmental attempts to protect human rights in Angola from early 1998 to date, during and in the immediate aftermath of the recent conflict. Angola has suffered from one of the longest-running conflicts in Africa. The country was originally a battleground for a proxy war between the Cold War superpowers, but the conflict developed its own self-sustaining dynamic in the 1990s, fuelled by revenue from oil and diamonds. The impact of the war on the Angolan people was severe - at its height in early 2002 over four million were internally displaced and around 450 000 lived in refugee camps in neighbouring countries. Increasing violence caused by rebel attacks and government counter-insurgency activities fuelled forced displacement and created one of the largest humanitarian crises of the 1990s. The international community responded with UN Security Council-mandated sanctions against UNITA, extensive humanitarian activities, and attempts at promotion and protection of human rights. However, the effectiveness of human rights activities was impeded by weak political support from donor nations, the nature of the governing regime, and humanitarian imperatives. Despite some minor successes, with respect to human rights Angola is a case study of failure: the failure of the international community and the Angolan government to adequately protect its citizens from gross and systematic human rights abuses during a brutal civil war.

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