Third U.S-Angola Bilateral Human Rights Dialogue

(STL.News) The Republic of Angola and the United States of America held the third Bilateral Dialogue on Human Rights.Angola was represented by a delegation headed by the Minister of Justice and Human Rights, Francisco Queiroz, and included the Secretary of State and Human Rights and Citizenship, Ana Januário, and the Ambassador of Angola to the United States Joaquim do Espírito Santo.  The United States delegation was led by Acting Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor Scott Busby; Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of African Affairs Matthew Harrington; and U.S. Ambassador to Angola Nina Maria Fite.  Assistant Secretary for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor Robert Destro made closing remarks.

During the dialogue, the two countries agreed to continue to strengthen their bilateral cooperation to support Angola’s anti-corruption efforts, enhance accountability for human rights violations and abuses, advance democratic governance, and support protections for human rights and fundamental freedoms, including the rights to peaceful assembly and freedoms of expression, association, and religion or belief.

Acting Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Busby welcomed the significant progress the Government of Angola has made in its efforts to combat corruption, including investigations and prosecutions of current and former government officials, and the new penal code which increased penalties for corrupt officials.  He noted the steps the Angolan government has taken to hold officials accountable for human rights abuses.  He emphasized that upcoming local elections, which will be the first in recent Angolan history, are an opportunity for Angola to demonstrate its commitment to expanding democratic governance.  He noted a transparent planning process for the elections will aid in their success.  Busby recognized that continued positive developments in support for human rights and democratic governance could have lasting benefits for the Angolan people and strengthen Angola’s role as a regional leader.

According to Minister Queiroz, the beginning of the new political cycle, inaugurated by President João Lourenco in 2017, brought guarantees that human rights would receive greater attention. Though challenges remain, the Minister noted that human rights are in the National Strategy of Human Rights a matter of national security, with oversight provided by civil society organizations across the country, through Human Rights Local Committees.

The two delegations reaffirmed their commitment to advance democratic institutions and human rights, and agreed to continue to dialogue in the future.

Source: STATE.Gov