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close this bookICRC Activities in Angola: 1993 - 28 January 2000 (International Committee of the Red Cross , 80 p.)
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentANGOLA IN 1993
View the documentANGOLA IN 1994
View the documentANGOLA
View the documentAngola: community seed banks
View the documentAngola: new hope for war amputees
View the documentAngola: seeds of life
View the documentAngola: new technology for amputees
View the documentAngola: Photo gallery 1 November 1995
View the documentAngola: release of prisoners
Open this folder and view contentsAngola: Annual report 1995
View the documentAngola: more prisoners freed
View the documentAngola: ICRC on the alert to prevent food shortage
View the documentAngola: Annual report 1996
View the documentAngola: Photo gallery 30 March 1997
View the documentAngola: Extract from “ICRC photo catalogue: 1997 selection, No 4”
View the documentAngola: Annual report 1997
View the documentAngola: Medical assistance for conflict victims
View the documentAngola: A new life for amputees
View the documentAngola: Emergency assistance
View the documentUpdate no. 98/01 on ICRC activities in Angola in response to the resumption of hostilities
View the documentAngola: Annual Report 1998
View the documentAngola: Assistance for displaced people
View the documentUpdate No. 99/01 on the activities of the ICRC in Angola
View the documentAngola: ICRC resumes relief work in Huambo
View the documentAngola: ICRC plane reaches Kuito
View the documentUpdate No 99/02 on the activities of the ICRC in Angola
View the documentAngola: Rekindling hope
View the documentPhotos: Angola 1 March 1999
View the documentUpdate No. 99/03 on ICRC activities in Angola
View the documentAngola: Agricultural assistance programme in Huambo
View the documentFact Sheet: ICRC in Angola
View the documentAngola: ICRC steps up assistance on the Planalto
View the documentAngola: Extract from “ICRC photo catalogue: 1999, No 6”
View the documentFact sheet: ICRC in Angola
View the documentUpdate No. 00/1 - Economic Security Programmes in Angola

Angola: Annual report 1997


In Angola the start of the year was marked by a series of delays that lasted several weeks and stood in the way of the implementation of the political aspects of the Lusaka Peace Protocol signed by the Angolan government and UNITA* in November 1994. A range of political decisions had to be reached on three main issues: the taking of office of the 70 UNITA deputies elected to the National Assembly in 1992, the formation of a government of national unity and reconciliation and the defining of the constitutional status of the President of UNITA. It was only after this last point had been settled, in early April, that the UNITA deputies were sworn in and the government of national unity and reconciliation was officially set up. As for the process of extending government administration to the areas still controlled by UNITA, it was hindered by many difficulties. In May it ground to a halt for several months and it did not resume until September, when UNITA handed over several towns, including Negage (Uige province), to the Angolan government.

The incorporation into the new Angolan armed forces of 26,300 men selected from among UNITA troops [30] proved impossible to achieve in accordance with the terms of the peace accord and in the end only 11,000 soldiers from this movement were absorbed. Moreover, a great many UNITA fighters who should have been demobilized deserted the confinement centres before the end of the process.

The international community was disturbed about these various delays and put pressure on the parties to respect the 1994 peace protocol, extending the mandate of UNAVEM III* three times and then sending a new UN mission - UNOMA* - to the country on 1 July. At the end of August, however, in view of UNITA’s unwillingness to conform to the letter of the provisions contained in the peace protocol, the UN Security Council threatened to take sanctions against the movement. Owing to the negligible progress made by UNITA, these sanctions finally came into force on 29 October.

Tensions in the north-east

The Angolan armed forces launched an offensive in Lunda Norte province, in the north-east of the country, at the end of May, with the declared aim of securing the Angolan borders and preventing any incursion by armed elements from the Democratic Republic of the Congo [31]. They occupied several towns that were still under the control of UNITA, which led to a sporadic resumption of fighting and the displacement of civilians. At the start of June, the ICRC visited the province to assess any humanitarian needs that might have arisen as a result of the fighting. Other surveys were subsequently carried out in most of the other provinces bordering on the Democratic Republic of the Congo (Moxico, Lunda Sul, Malanje and Uige) and in the areas around Huila, Benguela and Huambo, where a rise in tension could also be felt. In connection with the events unfolding in the Republic of Congo [32], ICRC delegates also made several trips in late 1997 to the Cabinda enclave, the scene of clashes between the Angolan armed forces and Cabinda separatist groups. Moreover, in view of the presence in the Republic of the Congo of elements of the Angolan armed forces, the ICRC sent the authorities concerned a note verbale and a memorandum reminding them of the need, in this situation, to respect and ensure respect for the principles and rules of humanitarian law.

Following the end of the process to release people detained in connection with the conflict, the delegation did not carry out any activities in Angola’s places of detention during the first eight months of the year. However, new prisoners coming within the ICRC’s mandate were captured by the government after the resumption of hostilities in the north-east of the country.

Restoring family links

In 1997 the ICRC handed over to the Angola Red Cross some of its programmes aimed at restoring and maintaining contact between family members separated by the events. The National Society thus became responsible for distributing Red Cross messages in the towns of Huambo and Kuito. However, the new outbreak of hostilities in the north-east, together with the fact that it was impossible for the National Society to gain access to UNITA-controlled areas, pointed to the need for the ICRC to continue its involvement in this work. The delegation therefore decided to maintain its three sub-offices in the areas still in UNITA hands.

Sanitation projects handed over

In February the ICRC completed its work on sanitation projects in Angola and handed them over to the relevant provincial authorities or to non-governmental organizations that were ready to continue them. Instructions on the management of the facilities were accompanied by large donations of equipment and materials.

Support for health posts ended

At the start of the year, the delegation also ended its programmes to support health posts -with the exception of the Chipipa post (Huambo province), the rehabilitation of which was completed in June - and handed over the responsibility for the posts to the Angolan Ministry of Health or to other humanitarian agencies. Meanwhile it provided logistic and administrative support for the German Red Cross, within the framework of a six-month bilateral project for restoring health posts in Bailundo and, partly, the hospital there. Following the resurgence of tensions in the north-east of the country, a medical survey was carried out in several provinces affected by problems of overt or latent violence. On the basis of the survey, the ICRC gradually began to resume its ad hoc assistance to certain medical facilities in potential conflict areas so as to enable them to deal with any influx of wounded people that might occur.

In addition, the ICRC continued to fit amputees with artificial limbs in its prosthetic/orthotic centres in Bomba Alta (Huambo), Kuito and Neves Bendinha (Luanda), and to manufacture orthopaedic components in its production unit in Neves Bendinha and, since January, in the one in Bomba Alta. On 4 June the ICRC and the other members of the coordination group for prosthetic/orthotic programmes in Angola [33] signed a letter of agreement with a view to streamlining the manufacture of artificial limbs throughout the country and thereby enabling all amputees to have their artificial limbs serviced or repaired at the centre nearest them.

Spreading the humanitarian message

In 1997 again, many civilians fell victim to banditry, which also plagued the international organizations present in Angola. The ICRC was itself the victim of three security incidents at the start of the year, involving the theft of vehicles in the town of Luanda. Moreover, outside the towns, political violence not only prompted the displacement of large groups of people, it also caused the interruption or even the suspension of the activities of some humanitarian organizations. For this reason, in order to help prevent civilians in rural areas from being victimized by armed elements, the ICRC continued to spread its humanitarian messages via weekly programmes broadcast on national radio. Information sessions on Red Cross principles, the ICRC’s mandate, the organization’s work in Angola and the promotion of humanitarian law were also organized for various audiences, including the authorities, the armed forces, the media and the Angolan Red Cross.

Raising awareness of the danger of mines

The visit in January by Diana, Princess of Wales, to the ICRCs two artificial limb production centres in Angola helped to spread awareness among the general public, both in that country and abroad, of the ICRC’s campaign to bring about a ban on anti-personnel landmines and of its work to support the victims of these weapons. In addition, the delegation continued to organize seminars on this subject for the media and for government representatives. Among other things, it promoted, jointly with UNICEF, a debate in the National Assembly that addressed Angola’s participation in the Ottawa Conference to be held in December. The general public was also made aware of the danger of mines by means of performances given by a group of traditional singers and dancers in the province of Huambo. [34]


- visited 45 detainees in Uige, Lunda Norte and Huambo provinces who had been arrested in connection with the resumption of fighting in the north-east of the country;

- as UNITA was unable to provide new information on the matter, ended its representations concerning 78 detainees held by this movement, of whom it had had no news since 1994;

- passed on to the relevant political authorities 158 allegations of arrest or disappearances that had been made to it by the families of those concerned;

-helped restore and maintain contact bet-ween separated family members, some of whom were in government-held and others in UNITA-held areas (in so doing collected 10,806 and delivered 10,960 Red Cross messages);

- reunited 44 people with their families;

- registered some 50 unaccompanied Rwandan children under the age of 16 who were refugees in Angola, with a view to reuniting them with their families in Rwanda;

- satisfied 74 tracing requests dealt with, in part, by the Angola Red Cross under ICRC supervision;

- handed over to the provincial authorities or to non-governmental organizations the responsibility for 13 health posts on the Planalto;

- provided ad hoc assistance to the hospitals of Dundo and N’zagi (Lunda Norte province), Saurimo (Lunda Sul) and Malanje, in the form of medical supplies for the treatment, if necessary, of some 150 war-wounded;

- opened a new centre in Huambo for the production of orthopaedic components;

- manufactured 1,720 prostheses and 6,146 orthopaedic components for other organizations carrying out prosthetic/orthotic work in Angola;

- fitted 1,344 new amputees with artificial limbs and repaired prostheses for amputees who had already been fitted some time before;

- finished repairing the water-supply systems in the towns of Caala and Bailundo, in cooperation with the Netherlands Red Cross and the German Red Cross respectively, and completed the water-supply and sanitation projects begun in Ganda and Kuito;

- handed over all its water and sanitation projects to the relevant provincial authorities or to non-governmental organizations active in this sphere;

- held training sessions for Angola Red Cross staff, including a seminar for the heads of the National Society’s provincial branches, on restoring and maintaining family links;

- recorded radio programmes broadcasting humanitarian messages in the local Kikongo and Umbundu languages, using local traditions as a basis;

- gave lectures on humanitarian law, the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and the ICRC to representatives of the local authorities and the traditional leaders, the press, the National Society, the Angolan police and armed forces (including a commando unit based in Cabinda) and 370 members of UNAVEM III and UNOMA;

- informed the population in the Huambo region about the damage and suffering caused by the indiscriminate use of mines, in particular through 144 performances given by a group of traditional singers and dancers to audiences totalling around 12,000 people.


* UNITA: National Union for the Total Independence of Angola
* UNAVEM III: United Nations Angola Verification Mission (III)
* UNOMA: United Nations Observer Mission in Angola
30. See the ICRC’s 1996 Annual Report, p 74.
31 See Democratic Republic of the Congo, pp. 58-60.
32. See Republic of the Congo, pp. 66-68.
33. See the ICRC’s 1996 Annual Report, p 76.
34. See the ICRC’s 1996 Annual Report, p 79.