Angola: Mission on Rights of Women, 2002


The delegation of the mission to Angola was made up of Commissioner Angela Melo, Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Women in Africa, and Mr. Robert Kotchani, Legal Expert at the Secretariat of the African Commission. The objective of the mission was as follows:

  1. To establish a formal contact for the first time with the political and administrative authorities of this State party and to inform them, if need be, of the activities of the Commission.
  2. To disseminate information about the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights to NGOs, women’s associations, workers of the justice system, security forces and other contacts.
  3. To promote human rights in general and the rights of women in particular by educating the various parties on the mandate of the Commission and that of the Special Rapporteur, through meetings with intellectuals, trade unionists and members of human rights defence associations, for the establishment of partnerships based on consultation and the exchange of information.
  4. To collect first hand information on the human rights situation in Angola in the post-conflict period from the Government, NGOs, and other civil society agents.
  5. To visit certain places, in particular, detention centres and camps for displaced persons, in order to assess the human rights situation.
  6. To draw the attention of the competent Angolan authorities to the need for this State party to respect its obligations under the African Charter, in particular the provisions of articles 1 and 62 of the Charter, relating to the presentation of initial and periodic reports to the Commission.
  7. To urge the Angolan Government to accelerate the process of ratifying the Protocol on the Creation of an African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights and the African Charter on the Rights and Well-being of the Child.
  8. To sensitize the Angolan Government on the need to prepare the draft Protocol to the African Charter on the Rights of Women in Africa.


The Angolan Government needs to:

  1. Do everything to ensure that Angola complies with the obligations imposed upon it by the regional and international conventions to which it is a party, in particular the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, notably by submitting and presenting the two outstanding periodic reports in accordance with the principles of Article 62 of the said Charter.
  2. Ensure the respect for and improvement of human rights, in particular the rights of Women in Angola by creating and maintaining an enabling environment to this end, for the benefit of the population.
  3. Draw up a national programme for the eradication of poverty and integrating the gender perspective;
  4. Prepare annual pro-gender national budgets.
  5. Implement specific strategies accompanied by legislative and other measures to combat violence against Women;
  6. Intensify the integration of the gender perspective in all economic, social, cultural and political areas;
  7. Institutionalize gender units in all the Ministries;
  8. Promote the equal or equitable representation of women in the decision making process;
  9. Take the necessary corrective and positive measures wherever discrimination against women exists;
  10. Create a national monitoring and evaluation system of all action plans and integrate civil society therein;
  11. Draw up indicators for the programmes on poverty eradication and other programmes, notably those relating to gender issues;
  12. Draw up a national policy, specific strategies and a consistent plan of action on HIV/AIDS with a pro-gender approach;
  13. Embark on the reform of the family and succession code;
  14. Set up a data system on violence against women;
  15. Protect and guarantee the rights of women to reproductive and sexual health;
  16. Involve women in the peace process and in the implementation of national programmes;
  17. Encourage human rights NGOs to participate more actively in the work of the African Commission and of the Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Women in Africa.
  18. Pursue efforts to improve conditions of detention and focus the required attention on the cases of detainees.
  19. Embark on legal, penal and judicial reform and guarantee social participation in all reform projects;
  20. Pay close attention to the need for and create the necessary conditions for free legal assistance to those requiring it;
  21. Strengthen the judicial control and fiscal system of the prisons;
  22. Set up a multidisciplinary mechanism for the control of legality in the courts, among the prosecutors, heads of institutions and other detention centres;
  23. Intensify efforts for the successful demobilisation of rebel forces and implementation of the policy of national reconciliation with all factions of the opposition.
  24. Protect displaced and repatriated persons, including women and children;
  25. Improve and guarantee the social security system;
  26. Ensure the protection of the environment and promote the participation of women in this area;
  27. Support and facilitate the work of NGOs and various Associations, in particular women’s organisations, in order to promote their effective empowerment in Angola.
  28. Involve civil society organisations, in particular NGOs in the drafting of Angola’s Report to the ACHPR in accordance with the provisions of Article 62 of the African Charter;
  29. Create a permanent framework for dialogue between the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of the Family, and human rights NGOs and all those concerned with such issues.
  30. Create a national system for vulgarising legislation and information, in order to teach the population about human rights and the rights of women, and provide strong support to the Ministry of the Family in its initiatives to provide assistance to women at grassroots level.
  31. Create a National Human Rights Institute whose membership and functioning would be in line with existing international principles in this field, in particular the Paris Principles.
  32. Create courts for minors and promote specific mechanisms for settlement of disputes, such as mediation and conciliation in the area of labour disputes. Improve and strengthen the system of control of periods of preventive custody.
  33. Intensify the training of prison guards on human rights issues and ensure that the conditions of treatment of detainees conform with international standards.
  34. Ensure that conditions of detention and treatment of detainees are in conformity with international standards.

Civil society organisations should undertake the following:

  1. Maintain the contact established with the African Commission and endeavour to participate in its work/sessions by applying for observer status with the Commission.
  2. Continue to support the Government in its efforts to improve the human rights situation in the country and in the fight against poverty.
  3. Create an effective network to engage in discussions with other organisations in the region on human rights issues, and provide reliable information to the Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Women in Africa.
  4. Closely monitor the situation in the prisons, in particular by organising legal and judicial assistance services for poor detainees, especially women.
  5. The Bar Association should set up relations of cooperation with the Government in order to establish effective systems of legal assistance for the poor populations.

The international community should undertake the following:

  1. Continue to assist Angola in its efforts to ensure a permanent return of peace, and for national reconciliation of all Angolans.
  2. Support Angola in the country’s reconstruction process and the re-launching of activities in the all vital sectors, in order to improve the living conditions of the population, and in particular for women and children.
  3. Closely monitor developments in the general situation of Angola, in particular the humanitarian aspects.