Your Excellency Mr. Joao Manuel Gonçalves Lourenço
President of the Republic of Angola
President of UNITA, Adalberto Costa Junior
Minister of Justice and Human Rights, Marcy Lopes
Luanda: June 12, 2023
Subject: Angolan police use live bullets against protesters
It is with great concern that Friends of Angola (FoA) learned of the death of eight citizens and several hospitalizations, in the province of Huambo, on June 5, 2023, following demonstrations against the rise in fuel prices in Angola.
The FoA also received reports of the use of force by police officers from Huila and Lunda Sul provinces. The incident in Huambo province, where the National Police used excessive and disproportionate force, including live bullets, against unarmed protesters, is a clear violation of the Angolan constitution and international human rights.
The Angolan Constitution guarantees the right to peaceful assembly and the right to life. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights also guarantee these rights.
Mr. President, 21 years after the Civil War that devastated hundreds and hundreds of lives, it is worrying that the National Police continues using excessive and disproportionate force, including live bullets, against peaceful demonstrators. The culture of violence that was used during communism and the civil war that lasted decades in Angola has no place in a society that intends to embrace democratic principles.
Friends of Angola (FoA) urges you to launch a thorough investigation into these incidents and to bring those responsible to justice. We also urge you to take steps to ensure that the Angolan police are better trained in how to handle protests peacefully. The use of violence by the police only serves to escalate tensions and to undermine the rule of law.
We also hope that the President of the Republic João Lourenço embraces democratic values, respecting the freedom of assembly and expression of Angolan citizens We are committed to working with you to build a more democratic and prosperous Angola for all its citizens.
Friends of Angola