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Cablegate: Gra Asserts Unhro Closure Doesn't Diminish Human

VZCZCXRO9385
PP RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHJO RUEHMR RUEHRN
DE RUEHLU #0255 0911827
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 311827Z MAR 08
FM AMEMBASSY LUANDA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 4700
INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 0019

UNCLAS LUANDA 000255

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PHUM PREL PGOV AO
SUBJECT: GRA ASSERTS UNHRO CLOSURE DOESN'T DIMINISH HUMAN
RIGHTS COMMITMENT

REF: ANGOLA 248

1. (SBU) During a March 31 meeting with Vice Minister of
Foreign Relations Jorge Chicoti, Ambassador Mozena expressed
disappointment over the GRA's decision to close the Human
Rights Office (HRO) in Angola (reftel) . The Ambassador said
that while the decision to close the office was Angola's to
make, the action would be viewed negatively in Washington and
other capitals, especially given Angola's commitment last
year when campaigning for a UN Human Rights Council seat,
that it would deepen cooperation with the UNHRO Angola
office.

2. (SBU) Chicoti said he would pass our concerns along,
adding that the HRO's programs could continue even after the
UNHRO closure through the Luanda office United Nations
Development Program (UNDP) based in Luanda. He said he hopes
the GRA can do even more on human rights through the UNDP
than had been accomplished with the HRO. He added that he
had not supported closing the office, but "others"
(unidentified) in the government pushed this because the
UNHRO in Luanda clubbed Angola with countries that were not
effectively addressing human rights problems.

3. (SBU) According to Chicoti, the GRA had requested that the
UNHRO be set up in Luanda to deal with war-related human
rights issues. Now, however, following six years of peace,
Angola no longer needs special human rights considerations,
therefore the GRA decided not to extend the mandate. He said
Angola will now be treated as a "normal" country and can
continue normal programmatic cooperation on human rights
issues through the UNDP. Chicoti assured the Ambassador that
diplomatic missions and other stakeholders would have access
to the GRA to discuss human rights concerns.

4. (SBU) When the Ambassador suggested that 30-45 days was
too short a period of time to manage the transition of
programs from the HRO to the UNDP, Chicoti agreed and said he
would recommend to Foreign Minister Miranda that the HRO be
given at least three months to effect its closing.

5. (SBU) Comment: If the GRA delivers on extending the time
for closing the UNHRO in Luanda and in allowing UNHRO
programs to continue, albeit under different auspices, that
would take some of the sting out of its decision to deny the
UNHRO the mandate needed to remain open. Nonetheless, we and
other human rights defenders will remain vigilant to ensure
that closure of the UNHRO doesn't presage GRA disengagement
from efforts to improve Angola's human rights situation.
MOZENA

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