Saturday, April 12, 2003

Resolution passed at ICF meeting in Cape Town, April 5-9

Delegates to an International Communications Forum held in Cape Town on April 5-9 have learned with horror of the Angolan government's use of the State-controlled media to instigate genocide and ethnic cleansing against the surviving members of the UNITA rebel movement.

Delegates were appalled when they were told that on March 2 the state-run daily, Jornal de Angola, called on the Angolan people to take to the streets to “beat up or kill either slowly or at speed'' the remaining members of UNITA who dare to remember their slain leader Jonas Savimbi.

The delegates called on the Angolan government immediately to put a stop to this reprehensible activity. They also called on the member nations of the Southern African Development Community - of which the Angolan government holds the presidency - to call the Angolan government to account and to consider the imposition of sanctions on that country to force it to end these attacks.

Delegates also noted with strong disapproval the continuing repression, frequently violently, of dissenting journalistic voices and pointed out that this unacceptable activity is in conflict with the African Union constitution and the SADC's adoption of the freedom of expression principles contained in the Windhoek Declaration. They called on the Angolan government to abide by its commitments to the free flow of news and information and to end this activity. They further called on the government to work for peace and reconciliation for all its peoples.