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Human rights take a beating in Angola
Diamond miners’ private security firms commit crimes with impunity
By: Diamond World News Service
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Sep 1 2006 12:00AM
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Reference: 659  

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Angola’s diamond-rich Luanda Norte province, which is currently in the grips of a severe cholera outbreak, with an average of 500 new cases per day, is witnessing little improvement in health care or infrastructure despite the government earning significant revenues from oil and diamonds, according to recent reports by a human rights organisation.

The survey reveals that 10 per cent of children under the age of five in Xa-Muteba, a town in Lunda-Norte, are dying every year. This baffling as Angola is at peace and has the resources to pay for hralth care.

Widespread human rights abuses, including beatings and torture, are being committed by private security firms in diamond mining areas against freelance diamond miners known as garimpeiros.

When the miners sell their stones to the companies, the diamonds are legal; but, when the garimpeiros reach the gates of the firms, they are in an illegal situation and can have their diamonds confiscated. A high-conspiracy, both among Lundas ruling elite and the countrys cooperation partners exists to smother any criticism from whistleblowers about human rights violations being committed at the heart of Angolas lucrative mineral sector.

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