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Angola: Centre interviews Rafael Marques, Angolan human rights journalist, on human rights violations by diamond companies & restrictions on his work as a defender

Rafael Marques_credit_Maka Angola

The Business & Human Rights Resource Centre had the opportunity to personally interview the renowned and award-winning Rafael Marques de Morais, a committed journalist and human rights defender. Rafael is internationally recognized for his important, courageous and tireless work denouncing, among other issues, human rights abuses and violations perpetrated by Angolan companies and generals in the exploitation of diamonds in Angola. Because of his denounces he has constantly been threatened and prosecuted. See more here. To read this story in Portuguese, click here.

The interview was held on 11 October in Brazil, during the visit of Rafael Marques de Morais, at the invitation of Agência Pública.

See below the brief interview in which Rafael talks about the relationship between Angolan diamond companies and Brazilian companies. He mentions, for example, recent abuses perpetrated by Sociedade Mineira do Cuango no Cafunfo, in a joint action with the state, to purchase land to expand its diamond mining operations. Marques claims that the compensation for land acquisition was inadequate, that there was destruction of crops, and caused a situation of eviction, hunger and difficulties of access to water for the local poor population.

In his words:

"...In many cases these communities are even forbidden to access the rivers to take water for consumption because there is no running water in the region. And note that, because of the diamonds, communities are increasingly impoverished and violence remains, not to the levels that occurred years ago when I wrote the book ‘Blood Diamond’..."

Rafael also commented on the constant restrictions and threats that he suffers to carry out his work as an investigative journalist and human rights defender.

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Article
14 November 2016

Angola: Centre interviews Rafael Marques, Angolan human rights journalist, on human rights violations by diamond companies & restrictions on his work as a defender

Author: Julia Mello Neiva, Julia Mello Neiva, Senior Brazil, Portugal & Portuguese-speaking Africa Researcher & Representative, Business & Human Rights Resource Centre

[The Centre interviewed, on 11 October, 2016, Rafael Marques de Morais. The journalist and human rights defender talks about the relationship between Angolan diamond companies and Brazilian companies. He mentions, for example, recent violations perpetrated by Sociedade Mineira do Cuango in Cafunfo, in a joint action with the state, to purchase land to expand its diamond mining operations. Marques claims that the compensation for land acquisition was inadequate, that there was destruction of crops, and caused a situation of eviction, hunger and difficulties of access to water for the local poor population. Rafael also commented on the constant restrictions and threats that he suffers to carry out his work as an investigative journalist and human rights defender.]

Read the full post here

Article
14 November 2016

Angola: Maka Angola alleges Sociedade Mineira do Cuango & govt violently destroyed crops to expand mining operations without adequate compensation; it includes company comments

Author: Rafael Marques de Morais, Maka Angola (Angola)

“Diamond barons destroy food crops”, 20 September, 2016

...The Angolan diamond mining conglomerate, Sociedade Mineira do Cuango (SMC) is accused of ordering the systematic destruction of hundreds of food crop plantations in the Cafunfo area (Cuango...), with the local MPLA administration ordering the compulsory removal of the villagers and destruction of their homes, cash crops and vegetable gardens. Villagers complain that compensation for their destroyed harvests is wholly inadequate...and some empty water barrels...“The destruction orders come from Mike Weir, the SMC Operations Director, but he is merely complying with orders from the SMC board of directors in Luanda,” a local official revealed...“People can’t argue with João Eugénio because he is always accompanied by heavily-armed police, who threaten them if they protest.”...The...village chief says “it was José Eduardo dos Santos’s government who told people around here that everyone should dedicate themselves to growing crops to put an end to famine in the region...”...Maka Angola contacted...SMC director of Mining Operations to convey these complaints but was unable to obtain any response...A telephone conversation with a subordinate of deputy director Firmino Valeriano, resulted in a blanket refusal to respond to questions, even...in writing...

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Company response
30 August 2016

Sociedade Mineira do Cuango Response

Author: Sociedade Mineira do Cuango (Angola)

The response is available only in Portuguese.

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