November 9, 2000
Luanda, November 9, 2000 — As Angola prepares to celebrate 25 years of independence on November 11, a report by the international medical aid organization Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) denounces the state of neglect in which the people of Angola are forced to live. Ever since hostilities were renewed in the country at the end of 1998, the Angolan population has been literally targeted and exploited by the parties to the conflict. Witness accounts gathered by MSF teams in Kuito, Malanje, and Kaala describe how the civilian population has been repeatedly subject to forced displacements, abuses, and acts of violence by the two parties to the conflict, UNITA and the Angolan Armed Forces. And yet the Angolan government continues to speak in terms of the "normalization" of the situation.
"This apparently reassuring official line in fact hides a very different reality: a genuine disaster is taking place," says Christopher Stokes, MSF's Head of Mission in Angola. "Contrary to the fictitious official line that is given out by the government, and accepted in turn by the international community and the United Nations, the situation in Angola is far from being 'normal.' The people are being very cruelly afflicted by the renewal of hostilities, which have reached a new level of violence."
In the 9 provinces in which it is currently operating, MSF has noted:
The MSF report shows how the situation is not just the consequence of war, but the outcome of deliberate choices on the part of the two parties to the conflict. On the one hand, they have chosen to renounce their responsibilities with regard to health care, and on the other hand, they have chosen to use the population in their war strategy.
MSF has been working in Angola since 1983, and now works with 80 volunteers and 850 national staff.
© 2013 Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF)