Monday, January 15, 2007
Forced evictions in Angola...is the Catholic Church in part responsible?
Tens of thousands of people have been forcibly evicted in Luanda, according to the Amnesty International report Angola: Lives in ruins. Among the powerful institutions implicated is the Catholic Church. In 1998 the government gave the Church the title to land it had owned prior to the country's independence. The Church, Amnesty alleges, has worked with the government to forcibly remove 2,000 squatters from a parcel where it wants to build a sanctuary. According to the report, "Forced evictions have been carried out apparently at the request of the Catholic Church by members of the National Police from the Fifth Division who regularly arrested, beat and used firearms against the residents, seriously injuring some." The Archibishop of Luanda responded that many of the squatters were opportunists and had arrived after the church announced its plans for the property.