Life expectancy: forty-two

Miguel Filho

Failing in its attempts to achieve real, long-lasting peace, Angola is suffering economic, political, social, cultural and legal crises. While civil society believed that its plans and programmes for rural development would be implemented, the armed factions that negotiated the peace turned their backs on one another. The number of innocent victims among Angola's population has increased and the entire country fears reprisals.

Most of the programmes that successfully implement poverty eradication projects are supported by international organisations, but their participation has dropped off because armed groups attack vehicles transporting food.

The need for greater involvement of civil society has been raised as an issue at the theoretical level, but making it a legal reality is a slow process.

Who protects their rights?

A programme for job conversion was created as a result of a claim by the National Union of Teachers, but it has not yet been implemented. The Ministry of Labour (MAPESS) has generated a programme against unemployment, but the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has hindered its implementation.

Despite the existence of legislation protecting maternity, many companies do not comply and no one does anything to stop them. The agency that should be supervising this kind of infraction (General Labour Inspectorate) does not have sufficient human resources.

Child labour is also not under control and, with the exception of government-owned companies, corporations allow hiring of children under 17 years of age.

There are no statistical data regarding under-employment and domestic work because at present no control of numbers or surveys are provided.

The government promotes social integration and language rights of vulnerable groups through radio and television programmes, often with political objectives. The international community's intervention has always been sought to help protect the rights of displaced persons, refugees and migrant populations. Violation of immigrants' rights continues, however, because of the poor training of law enforcement officers, particularly the police, whose ranks include illiterate personnel. In sum, despite the existence of legislation protecting the rights of workers, mothers, union leaders and immigrants, violations continue.

Gender equality and equity have not shown any substantial changes because there have been no initiatives to increase women's participation in public life.

Family reproduction has traditionally been encouraged, but large families often have difficulties. The government has implemented reproductive health programmes that can be considered «acceptable», at least in the cities.

There are no restrictions on access to education for girls, but there is a lack of programmes fostering credit and services for women's companies and cooperatives. Women's right to private property is recognised, but accordance with this right is not monitored by the government. Domestic and sexual violence have shown no signs of decreasing.

The sixth commitment

Plans for eradication of illiteracy over the next ten years are in place and have been stepped up through NGO participation in adult education and church-based literacy programmes for women. Despite initiatives to universalise educational programmes, the number of uneducated children is on the rise. The infrastructure has not improved and what little there is is located in the country's capital.

The year 1998 was marked by a crisis in the health sector and in programmes for universalising primary health care. Public hospitals treat patients differently depending on their financial situation. HIV/AIDS prevention programmes have not achieved the expected results due to a lack of funding. The big stumbling block to implementation of health plans lies in the fact that the Minister of health belongs to the biggest opposition party and his relations with the head of State are not good.

According to international reports, life expectancy for Angolans has dropped to 42 years. This is linked to Angola's political-military panorama, which has curbed economic, social and human development to such an extent that the country is going through an unprecedented financial crisis whose impact on human resources is devastating. Moreover, a large percentage of government resources are being channeled to the internal war and to participation in neighbouring countries' wars.

«We make a commitment... to eradicate poverty...»

Although structural adjustment programmes include social development, their implementation has had negative results. The consequences of structural adjustment are hard-felt by the population.

Among other failures, the government has not disseminated information on the essential aspects of the commitments assumed in Copenhagen, so that civil society could participate actively in their implementation. No group has been officially designated to follow up on the commitments.

SINPROF, the National Union of Teachers, is represented in 13 provinces and its 33 thousand members include teaching and non-teaching personnel in non-university education.

Reports from Angola

2004 - Peace under-mined

1999 - Life expectancy: forty-two

1998 - The glass you are looking through

Human Rights International Treaties
ILO Conventions
C 87 C 98 C 105 C 100 C 111C 138 C 182
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