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Governments of Some African Nations Among World's Most Abusive

In the annual report issued Monday by New York-based Human Rights Watch, several African nations were cited for their alleged human rights abuses.

Among those on the list of the organization's most abusive countries are Congo and Zimbabwe. The report also complained about what it called the "soft" approach Western nations have taken toward "certain favored African autocrats," like Paul Kagame of Rwanda and Ethiopia's Meles Zenawi.

It also says the reliance of foreign nations, particularly the United States and Britain, on Africa's oil exports have sheltered certain governments from criticism. These are said to include Nigeria, Angola and Equatorial Guinea.

While Nigeria and Angola are Africa's top oil producers, the report singles out Equatorial Guinea, which it says is "mired in corruption, poverty and repression" under a president, Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, who has been in power for 30 years.

The human rights report had criticism for South Africa, which despite having a stable, democratic government appears to be trying to limit freedom of expression by putting forward measures that could impose state censorship.