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31 December 2008
According to the government and most international observers, internal displacement in Angola proper (excluding the exclave of Cabinda) has come to an end. At the height of the civil wars which raged from 1975 and 2002 between the governing Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) and the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA), over four million people were displaced, but since 2005 displacement and return have no longer been monitored.
However, not all IDPs found truly durable solutions to their situation. Many settled in the towns and cities they had originally fled to, hoping to build livelihoods there, and so many of the urban poor are former IDPs living on land that is not theirs. Over the past six years they have frequently experienced forced evictions.
Angola’s reconstruction has progressed slowly, but in the rural areas most affected by the war and resulting displacement, the enduring inadequacy of infrastructure and social services have made it very difficult for returnees and others to access health care, livelihoods and education. In an often forced and hasty return and reintegration process, many IDPs returned to villages with conditions well below the standards outlined in the government’s “Norms for the Resettlement of the Internally Displaced”.
The latest information on IDPs in Cabinda, the small, oil-rich exclave to Angola’s north, dates from the end of 2005, when 19,500 people were unable or unwilling to return home because of a low-intensity separatist conflict between government forces and the Front for the Liberation of the Enclave in Cabinda (FLEC). Despite a 2006 peace agreement, serious human rights violations have since been carried out by both sides.