ANGOLA: Sarah Wykes – Human rights defender

On 18 February 2007, Dr. Sarah Wykes, British citizen and a senior campaigner with Global Witness, was arrested by police and detained in Cabinda, Angola. Global Witness is an organization exploring the links between environmental exploitation and human rights abuses. Dr. Wykes is a highly respected international anti-corruption campaigner.

Dr. Wykes entered Angola on 11 February 2007 under the full knowledge of Angolan authorities. Dr. Wykes traveled there to meet with civil society and local authorities to discuss the conditions surrounding oil revenues. On the morning of February 18, Dr. Wykes was arrested and taken from her hotel room to a police station where she was not given food or water for 5 hours before being charged and taken to a local jail where she spent the night. She was brought to court on February 19, but was not allowed to meet her lawyer. She was released on bail on 21 February 2007 and finally granted appeal to leave the country on 16 March 2007 on the condition she returns to Angola on request.

Although Dr. Wykes has since returned to the UK, the charges against her concerning Angola’s national security remain. In a statement released 21 March 2007, Dr, Wykes reported that she believes the charges against her have no grounds and she intends to file a formal request that the case be dropped.

“There is growing international awareness that more transparency in the management of oil and mining revenues is needed so that citizens of countries rich in such natural resources can have greater oversight over the revenues and ensure that this wealth is used wisely and fairly. The work of Global Witness in promoting resource revenue transparency, in Angola and many other countries, will continue.” – Dr. Sarah Wykes.


Three letters of concern regarding the detention of Sarah Wykes and the charges against her were written on behalf of LRWC by Charles B. Davison (12 March 2007), Maegen M. Giltrow (13 March) and Diana M. Davidson (13 March 2007).