Angola and Sierra Leone Criticized in US Human Rights Report

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(Rapaport…March 5, 2002) The U.S. State Department mentioned the role of diamond mining in its criticism of Angola’s and Sierra Leone’s human rights records in its annual human rights report, released on March 4. The report stated that Angola’s UNITA rebels were “responsible for numerous, serious abuses during the year,” including killings, disappearances, torture and rape.

The report continued: “Undocumented Congolese workers in diamond fields were targeted by government or UNITA forces seeking to take control of alluvial diamond mining operations.”

As for Sierra Leone, the report stated that its government’s “human rights record was poor in several areas,” including reports of extrajudicial killings and the murdering of civilians accused of hoarding diamonds by Revolutionary United Front (RUF) rebels.

The report continued: “Rebel forces also forced civilians, including children, to labor as porters and as workers in diamond fields under their control despite the signing of a peace accord in 1999 and a July agreement to halt diamond mining until a formal peace accord was signed.”

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