- The international rights watchdog, Human Rights Watch has criticised the abuse of oil revenue by the Equatorial Guinea government.
In the study "Oil and Human Rights in Equatorial Guinea, the organisation said that the government of President Teodoro Obiang has increased the economic mismanagement in the handling of billions of dollars from oil instead of improving the lives of citizens.
Director of the Programme of Business and Human Rights at HRW, Arvind Ganesan, said the country’s wealth per capita should surpass Spain or Italy, but said people are living abject poverty worse than countries in war.
“This shows the corruption and mismanagement of the government, and its insensitivity to their own people,” it said.
According to the report, since the discovery of oil in the early nineties, the GDP of Equatorial Guinea has increased by more than 5000 percent, and the country has become the fourth largest oil producer of Africa Sahara, but said however, the standard of living of the 500,000 inhabitants of the country has not improved substantially.
It further said the infant mortality has increased the already appalling figure of 103 deaths per thousand inhabitants in 1990 to 124 per thousand in 2007. Also, the mortality rate of children under five years increased from 170 per thousand in 1990 to 206 per thousand in 2007.
It stresses that the country has experienced a series of corruption scandals in which government officials were involved and their families.
In 2006, the eldest son of Obiang, Teodorín bought a property in California valued at $ 35 million. In 2004, he spent about 8.45 billion US dollars in mansions and luxury cars in South Africa.
His only income was a known monthly salary of $ 4000 as a government minister. The $43.45 million dollars to be spent between 2004 and 2006 to maintain their lavish lifestyle that exceeds 43 million the Government spent on education in 2005, the report said.
The report concludes that President Obiang controls the oil, the government and the country without a significant international pressure. “The vast wealth of Equatorial Guinea will remain a private money-making machine for a few rather than a means to improve the lives of many,” it stated.
Human Rights Watch appealed to the governments of USA and Spain, the ancient metropolis, to exert pressure on the authorities in Malabo to improve the situation of human rights, deny visas to officials involved in cases of corruption and identify their property to confiscate the profits and return them to the people of Equatorial Guinea.
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