Tue, May 22, 2012 - Page 5 News List

Angolan security forces abused migrants: report

AFP, LUANDA

Angolan security and immigration forces have raped and tortured migrants during deportations of hundreds of thousands of people to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DR Congo), Human Rights Watch said yesterday.

“Women and girls have been victims of sexual abuse, including gang rape, and of sexual exploitation,” the group said in a report based on 211 interviews conducted since 2009.

“Beatings, torture and degrading and inhumane treatment of migrants were common practices during roundups, transportation to detention facilities and in custody,” it said.

Angola has deported around 400,000 immigrants — most from DR Congo — since 2003, according to the UN.

“Angola has a right to expel irregular migrants, but this does not justify denying them basic rights,” the group’s deputy Africa director Leslie Lefkow said.

Angolan authorities have failed to properly investigate the allegations, the report said.

Scores of women spoke of sexual abuse at the hands of Angolan officials, mostly in Condueji prison in the northern town of Dundo.

“Two ... came into the cell and raped me, in the presence of my husband and my children,” one 30-year-old woman said.

“I had never been with a man before and suffered a lot. I cried, but once the first finished the next came over to me right afterward,” a 15-year-old girl said.

Yet others spoke of torture, like a diamond digger burned with a heated machete after he was captured at Angola’s northern mines.

Conditions at detention centers left inmates without food or water and having to perform bodily functions in their cells, the report said.

The organization further lambasted Angola for failing to fulfill its promises to ratify international conventions on torture, migrants’ rights and human trafficking.

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