Freedom in Angola

The Political Context, State of Democracy, Human Rights and the Rule of Law

Capital: Luanda

Population: 29,784,193

GDP 2017 (US$ million): 124,209.39

Language: Portuguese

Political Regime Type: Unitary Dominant-Party Presidential Constitutional Republic

President: João Manuel Gonçalves Lourenço 

Current Political Context

  • Country elected new president ending 37 years of Dos Santos’s rule
  • Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) won 61% of the vote
  • Current president vowed to combat corruption and mismanagement of public funds

State of Democracy

  • Authorities continue to violate international human rights laws by denying citizens the right to peaceful protest
  • Security forces use excessive use of force, intimidation and arbitrary detention against peaceful protesters
  • MPLA party has majority, and opposition parties first contended the legitimacy of elections, but have accepted seats in parliament

State of Rule of Law

  • On July 5, the Constitutional Court ruled that a presidential decree that imposed severe restrictions on civil society groups violated Angolan constitution
  • Court ruled that only the parliament, not the president, had the authority
  • Lack of due process and judicial inefficiency is a pervasive problem
  • Lack of checks and balances and institutional capacity (as well as corruption and culture of impunity) have made government accountability weak, making it difficult for government to prosecute or punish officials who have committed abuses

State of Human Rights

  • Although voting during this recent election was relatively peaceful, severe restrictions on freedom of expression and assembly as well as censorship and limited access to information was pervasive
  • Security forces use excessive use of force, intimidation and arbitrary detention against peaceful protesters
  • Media freedom is predominantly controlled by government and people of the ruling party, and government continues to restrict freedom of expression
  • Women’s reproductive rights were threatened after parliament approved an amendment making abortion illegal
  • Security forces continue to use excessive force with impunity, and there is a failure in investigating and prosecuting officers who commit these abuses
  • Angola has formally presented its candidature to the UNHRC for the 2018-2020 term, vowing to maintain interaction with civil society 

Freedom House Democracy Index Score (2018): 26/100