Human rights defenders and journalists in Angola are under pressure 

freedom of expression

March 26, Angola: The Observatory and the Associação Justicia Paz e Democracia (AJPD) depict an environment where human rights defenders and journalists in Angola are subjected to judicial and administrative harassment, acts of intimidation, threats and other forms of restrictions to their freedom of association and expression.

In a joint report released by The Observatory and AJPD said, “our organisations release this report while the trial of prominent journalist and human rights defender, Rafael Marques de Morais will commence next week in Luanda.”

The report also comes in a context where the authorities of Angola have recently introduced a draft regulation aimed at regulating the activities of NGOs which, if adopted by the President in its current form, will considerably jeopardize any independent human rights reporting in this country.

“The authorities of Angola voluntarily maintain human rights defenders and journalists in a situation of vulnerability. Unfair trials, recurring harassment, acts of intimidation and restrictive legislations are all methods of States which do not tolerate opposition. This situation must come to an end and Angolan authorities must accept dissenting voices”, the organisation declared.

On March 24, 2015, a trial on charges of criminal defamation will commence in Luanda against journalist Rafael Marques de Morais. Marques is accused of defamation following the publication, in 2011, of his book, “Blood Diamonds: Corruption and Torture in Angola” where he denounces the corruption and human rights violations allegedly committed by some state agents and business entrepreneurs in the diamond-mining industry. The Observatory and AJPD call upon the authorities of Angola to drop the charges for criminal defamation pending against Rafael Marques and conform with regional and international recommendations calling upon the de-criminalisation of defamation and the protection of human rights work.

The Oslo Times

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