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Equatorial Guinea - Wenceslao Mansogo
Equatorial Guinea is a small country in Central Africa. The actual population is approximately half a million inhabitants, however official census may reach one milion. Independence from Spain was achieved in 1968. Since then the country has been under the control of totalitarian regimes. Francisco Macias was in power until 1979, and he was succeeded by his nephew, Teodor Obiang Nguema. Equatorial Guinea is the third oil producer in sub-Saharan Africa, nevertheless most of the population lives in absolute poverty. According to a recent UN report, 65% of the population live in conditions of extreme poverty. Therefore, most of the wealth generated from oil is concentrated in the hands of high-ranking government politicians. The country’s main bilateral partners include, Spain, France and United States of America.
The wide variety of non-state actors which are visible in other countries do not exist in Equatorial Guinea. The regime believes that an organised civil society would debilitate its power, and therefore suppresses it. There are no NGOs or associations outside the control of the state. Political parties are also forced to operate under state control. Convergencia para la Democracia Social - CPDS (Convergence for a Social Democracy) is the only legalised political opposition group in the country, and so it acts also as the only group that defends human rights in Equatorial Guinea. Its leaders and members suffer permanent repression.
Human rights defenders suffer every kind of violation in Equatorial Guinea: Killings: Avelino Abaha Elo, Alberto Nguema Ndong in December 2002; Reverend Father León Mba Ncogo on 1 January 2004. Arbitrary arrest, prison and torture: Virtually all the members of CPDS, external as well as national, have been victims. Intimidation: Human rights defenders and their families are frequently victims Impoverishment through unemployment: Leaders and members of CPDS are refused employment. They are automatically excluded from civil service jobs as well as from jobs in private enterprises which have close ties to the government, including oil companies. Social exclusion: Defenders are the victims of extraordinary taxes, inequality before the law, and administrative discriminations. Abusive evictions: Wenceslao Mansogo, Pío Miguel Obama, Andrés Esono, Angel Obama
Recommendations for reducing the number of violations suffered by defenders: structure and organise UN surveillance, supervision and advice place sanctions on countries which violate rights, and make resources available to permit their adequate implementation establish a black list of the main human rights offenders in the violating countries, preventing them from travelling to democratic countries reinforce bilateral economic and political pressing measures. favour surveillance and targeted pressure from the European Union. Determined and organised support and assistance for human rights organizations and civil society groups working in the offending countries Immediate financial support to human rights defenders at serious risk
I studied as an oobstetrician gynaecologist in France, I came back to Equatorial Guinea in November 1994. In 1998, I was fired from my position as a head of department in Bata hospital because I did not toe the line. Since then, I have worked in my own private practice. As is the case with my colleagues, I am not allowed to practice in the public sector, even though there is a shortage of doctors. In June 1998, the military leader of the district of Kogo was planning to lay an ambush for me. I was warned by a friend and was able avoid danger. Others were not so fortunate, and were seriously injured and five were hospitalised. In August 1998, I was arrested and spent one day in prison. I was not physically tortured. Since 1999, on several occasions, my family has suffered because of my activities in defense of human rights. In October 2001, the police evicted me from my apartment in Bata without warning or provocation. Apparently, the order came from a Minister who wanted to acquire the property, but of all the tenants in the block, I was the only one evicted. Since 2003, my application for a teacher’s post in the Bata School of Medicine has been systematically rejected by the administration, despite the fact that applications from people with a university level lower than mine are accepted. On 20 July 2004, I was arrested because I turned out from my courtyard a woman who intended to build her house in it. I was accused of being opponent to the regime. I was imprisoned for a short time in the police station of Comandachina, Bata, but I was released by the Governor of the province after my case was forwarded to the court. On 8 November 2004, I was arrested in my surgery by official from the state security service. I was accused of being involved in an imaginary coup d’état. I was released on bail. On 8 and 9 September 2005, I was summoned by the Parliament’s Complaints Commission of Equatorial Guinea regarding the ownership of the courtyard. They tried to reverse previous court decisions declaring me to be the owner of the courtyard and tried to transfer of a part of the courtyard to a member of the party in the government. I told them I would not respect such a decision, even if it came from the Parliament.