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Angola: U.N. Office Ordered to Shut Down

(May 2, 2008) The United Nations Office for Human Rights has until May 31, 2008, to close its office in Angola by order of the Angolan government. According to Vegard Bye, Chief of the U.N. Office in Angola, on March 4, 2008, Manuel Aragão, Angolan Minister of Justice, officially communicated to the U.N. High Commission on Human Rights that the office should be closed. Bye was quoted as saying that the Angolan government believes “it is not pertinent” to have a U.N. Office for Human Rights in the country. Arcanjo do Nascimento, Chief of the Angolan mission to the United Nations, said that, legally, the office never existed and that it was a holdover from the previous U.N. Observer Mission (MONUA) in the country. In his opinion, for such an office to exist, it is necessary to follow a series of procedures implemented by the United Nations itself, e.g., the forging of a Memorandum of Understanding with Angola, which has thus far not been the case. (Governo Manda Encerrar Escritório da ONU para Direitos Humanos, NOTÍCIAS LUSÓFONAS, Apr. 3, 2008.)