Angola's Wealth: Stories of war and neglect | Angola | Unita

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After more than three decades of war, the humanitarian situation in Angola is catastrophic. Yet with Angola's resources in oil and diamonds, it could be one of the richest countries in the developing world. The Angolan government has the responsibility to increase its commitment to humanitarian relief and social spending. In addition, the international community must press both sides to make significant moves towards peace.
  Oxfam Briefing Paper  Angola’s Wealth: Stories of War and Neglect  After more than three decades of war,the humanitarian situation in Angola iscatastrophic. Yet with Angola'sresources in oil and diamonds, it couldbe one of the richest countries in thedeveloping world. The Angolangovernment has the responsibility toincrease its commitment tohumanitarian relief and social spending.In addition, the international communitymust press both sides to makesignificant moves towards peace. 2    G   i  o  v  a  n  n   i   D   i   f   f   i   d  e  n   t   i   /   O  x   f  a  m   Angola's Wealth: Stories of War and Neglect September 2001 2 Executive summary  After more than three decades of war, the humanitarian situation in Angola iscatastrophic. 78% of the rural population lives in deep poverty, and one child in threenever reaches the age of five.  And yet, Angola could be one of the richest countries in the developing world. It hasgreat wealth in natural resources, particularly oil. Properly managed, the moneyfrom oil, diamonds and other natural resources could, in the short term, respondto Angola’s humanitarian crisis. In the long term, these resources could bringprosperity and development to Angola’s population for decades to come. Instead, the bulk of the money goes to fight Angola’s 26-year old war. In a country that earns 90% of its revenues from oil, the national energy sector hasbeen left to decay; many of the provincial capitals have been without electricity for more than 10 years. In fact, the oil sector – for export – is the only part of the economythat has expanded. Everything else has come to a grinding halt.  Angola’s oil reserves are mainly off-shore; therefore neither oil companies nor thesmall number of Angolans profiting from the industry have much interaction withordinary Angolans. This creates an economic and political distance thatencourages neglect and undermines accountability . Most Angolans see fewresults of their country's wealth. Government spending on social services, such ashealth and education, remains just a fraction of what is spent in the war. The Angolangovernment does not spend nearly enough on humanitarian aid, despite the factthat millions are in need.  3.8 million people are currently displaced by the war, nearlyone-third of the population.In the following interviews with displaced people and analysis of the wider socio-political situation, Oxfam illustrates the cost – in human terms – of Angola’s economyof war and neglect. With the momentum of a growing network of peace activists, and with better accountability in government, peace talks may be on the horizon . Still, theinternational community has the responsibility to ensure that moves towardspeace have the full participation of Angola’s civil society . Their role will be crucialin monitoring and supporting a lasting peace. Oxfam recommends that:   The government must do more to ensure the delivery of humanitarian relief topopulations in need, particularly in areas where humanitarian agencies do nothave access.   The international donor community must step up its provisions for humanitarianrelief in Angola, in the face of the escalating humanitarian suffering from increasedmilitary action.   The international community, under the auspices of the UN General Assembly,should adopt a binding international scheme for the certification of rough diamondsby December 2001.   Both UNITA and the Government must act to end human rights abuses committedby their troops. As a military solution does not seem feasible, the internationalcommunity must press both sides to create and maintain a lasting peace. Oxfam International has worked in Angola since 1989. We work both directly and through partners to provide water, sanitation and health programmes, as well aseducation, food security and democracy-building work. Oxfam International’s programmes together budget more than $US 5 million and work directly with over 350,000 people .   Angola's Wealth: Stories of War and Neglect September 2001 3 Diplomats and political analysts talk about “The Malanje corridor”; this is arough swath of land running North-South, from the border with theDemocratic Republic of Congo through the heart of the country – east of themajor cities of Malanje and Kuito. This area is perhaps the most contestedregion of Angola, as it is peppered with diamond deposits, UNITA’s mainsource of income.Fighting continues to drive people from many villages in and around Malanjemunicipality. In Cangandala, internally displaced people (IDPs) have roughlydoubled the town’s population. Many thousands of people have escapedMussende, a contested village in Cuanza Sul province experiencing near-daily fighting. A recent survey by the ministry of health found 24% severemalnutrition and 33% global malnutrition in the region. 1  Fernanda escaped Mussende in April, two months before Oxfam interviewedher at a therapeutic and supplementary feeding centre in Cangandala. Whenasked why she left her village, she says that there was an extreme shortageof food, salt, soap and clothing. She would have come earlier, but the roadwas blocked. As soon as the road opened again, she fled with her threechildren, all under the age of four. The journey took four days, and it wasvery difficult with the children. Along the road there was nothing to eat. Onechild became very ill, which is why the family is now at the feeding centre. UNITA had attacked Mussende, stayed a few days and then left. Fernandathinks the objective of the attack was to kidnap young boys to fight, and toforce women into carrying UNITA’s supplies. Fernanda´s sister waskidnapped by UNITA, and she has not had any news from her since. Other women who would not go with UNITA had their fingers cut off for refusing. Fernanda has no desire to return to Mussende. Her family has all left or beenkilled. Brief History of the War  At the time of Angola’s independence in 1975, internal conflict had alreadybegun. A political coup in Portugal the year before accelerated a swift exodusof the Portuguese settlers, taking with them most of the trained civil servantsand educated elite. Instead of forming a government of national unity, the country’s rebelmovements turned on each other. The Movimento Popular de Liberaçâo deAngola (The People’s Movement for the Liberation of Angola – known as theMPLA) has been headed by Jose Eduardo dos Santos since 1979. UNITA(Uniâo Nacional para a Indepêndencia Total de Angola – National Union forthe Total Independence of Angola) is led by Jonas Savimbi.For the rest of the 1970s and 1980s, Angola became a proxy battlefield for theCold War. The United States offered covert assistance to UNITA, in order tochallenge the communist MPLA. In addition to financial support to UNITA,South Africa intervened directly with military attacks, seeking to weaken the   Angola's Wealth: Stories of War and Neglect September 2001 4 camps of Namibia’s South West African People’s Organisation (SWAPO)inside Angola. The Soviet Union heavily supported the MPLA, with large arms transfers inthe 1980s. Cuba, too, with Soviet support, had some 50,000 ground troops inthe country. 2  Large reserves of oil had been discovered off the coast of Cabinda in 1968,soon surpassing coffee as Angola’s primary export. Because of itsgeographical location, being off-shore and far from the disputed territories, oilhas been largely financing the government’s side of the war. Diamonds –available without much capital investment in many of the unruly areas – havehistorically been funding UNITA’s fight. In 1989, progress towards peace came only after significant internationalpressure. The Bicesse Accords of 1991 led to public elections in 1992.However, the country spiralled back into war after UNITA refused to acceptelectoral defeat. The next two years saw some of the most ruthless fighting inAngola’s recent history. The Lusaka Protocol, signed in 1994, built on the earlier Bicesse Accord, butwith new elements of power-sharing. Even though this was under the closewatch of the United Nations – and some 7,000 peacekeeping troops – thispeace plan faltered as well. The failure of the protocol was mainly because thewarring parties refused to follow some of its key aspects, such asdisarmament. A major shortcoming of the Lusaka Protocol was the failure to include civilsociety in the negotiations. In addition, the fact that none of the violations ofthe agreement were made public, including human rights violations, curtailedcivil society’s ability to monitor the situation and apply political pressure toprevent a return to war.The UN Security Council declared an arms and fuel embargo on UNITA in1993, imposed travel restrictions in 1997, and finally sanctions on diamondsand financial assets in 1998. International observers agree that these lastsanctions did succeed in cutting UNITA’s income. If it has curbed, it has nottaken away their ability to wage war. Instead, UNITA has made the transitionback to guerrilla warfare. They now rely less on heavy artillery and fuel, andmore on terror tactics and the ability to seize food and other resources fromthe population. In 1998 both sides returned to war in earnest, and fighting continues to thisday. Both UNITA and the MPLA are accused of committing human rightsabuses against the Angolan population, including forced conscription, usingchild soldiers, kidnappings, the killing of civilians (either directly or throughreckless disregard), sexual assault, and looting. 3   At the time of writing, no clear military victory lies ahead for either side.Attacks occur daily, and are increasing in intensity in recent months . For example, the attack on 5 May on Caxito, a city about 60 kilometres outsideof Luanda, sent shock waves through the capital. The assault killed anestimated 200 people, injured hundreds more, and led to some 60 childrenbeing kidnapped (but later released, through the Catholic Church). In
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