If Angola intends as it has stated in the past, to be a leader both within the continent and on the world stage, it must start by addressing its own concerns, particularly when the UN explicitly tells you to do so.
Angola is currently a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council. That means it stands with an elite group of nations called upon to address serious threats to global security. Those threats include ones that cross borders, as well as those contained within one country, but are serious enough to merit international scrutiny.
Highly valid criticisms are lobbed at the UN Security Council (UNSC) regarding its composition (five permanent members with veto power who can and do block efforts based on their personal politics); it’s inaction in the face of severe human rights crises (can we say Syria anyone?); and that it does not reflect the current balance of world economic and political power. But here’s a specific criticism: Angola’s intractability in the face of a call by UN experts to release 15 activists currently imprisoned.
Is Angola going to take it’s obligations to the UN and international community seriously or not? As a state party to multiple international law and human rights treaties, as a current representative of the UN through its seat on the UNSC, as Chair of the Kimberely Process, and as a rising economic and political powerhouse on the continent, Angola needs to either step up or step back.
I appreciate no one on the UNSC has clean hands. But that doesn’t excuse Angola from it’s obligations. And FIVE UN experts issued a specific call to action to immediately release and drop the charges against 15 people it deemed arrested on the “sole ground of having promoted good governance and exercised the rights to free expression and peaceful assembly.”
So Angola, here’s the deal: it’s time for you to step up and be a leading voice on good governance and human rights as befits your status. Release the #Angola15 and drop the charges against them, drop the charges against Arão Bula Tempo, and process timely appeals for Rafael Marques de Morais and Marcos Mavungo that are in line with international standards.