(All Africa) Ahead of AU Summit, Government Curtails Political Rights, Disregards Social Needs

(All Africa) Ahead of AU Summit, Government Curtails Political Rights, Disregards Social Needs

June 22, 2011
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Equatorial Guinea's government has spent lavishly on diplomatic accommodations while neglecting the rights of the country's poor in the lead-up to hosting the African Union summit, Human Rights Watch and EG Justice said today.

Equatorial Guinea's government has spent lavishly on diplomatic accommodations while neglecting the rights of the country's poor in the lead-up to hosting the African Union summit, Human Rights Watch and EG Justice said today.

The government has also sharply limited public dissent and critical reporting. While most citizens of Equatorial Guinea languish in poverty, President Teodoro Obiang's government, which holds the revolving AU chairmanship, spent more than US$830 million to construct a luxury complex for the summit outside the nation's capital, Malabo.

"The Obiang government hopes that foreign visitors will be favorably impressed by the deluxe facilities built for their enjoyment," said Tutu Alicante, executive director of EG Justice, an organization based in Washington, DC. "But visitors should instead question why the government is building villas for the rich while Equatorial Guinea's poor live in slums without reliable electricity or drinking water."

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