No Justice for Human Rights Violations Before Ceasefire in Mozambique

The mother, wife, and son of Manuel Fungulane, disappeared after being detained by government soldiers. The mother, wife, and son of Manuel Fungulane, disappeared after being detained by government soldiers. © Human Rights Watch

22 January, 2018
A report from Human Rights Watch reveals the Government has failed to hold anyone responsible for serious abuses which occurred before the ceasefire.

In Mozambique, the conflict between the governing party Frelimo (Mozambique Liberation Front) and the opposition party Renamo (Mozambican National Resistance) has deep roots which resulted in bloodshed during the civil war, between 1977 and 1992. In the years following 1992, clashes between Frelimo and Renamo continued, especially after elections. In February 2015, the government tried to disarm Renamo’s armed groups by force. A recently published report  written by Humans Rights Watch reveals that the clashes following such operations resulted in several human rights violations, that continued till ceasefire was declared in December, 2016. Government forces are accused of enforced disappearances (there are seven documented cases and more believable, but undocumented ones), arbitrary arrests and torture. The government denied all the accusations. Renamo’s forces are accused of political kidnappings and killings (for example, the killing of the community leader of Muxungue, Makotori José Mafussi), as well as sniper attacks against public transportation and hospitals. Renamo’s leader, Afonso Dhlakama admitted to ordering most of the attacks, but rejected the accusations related to political assassinations. Abuses and violations mostly stopped with the ceasefire, but no one was brought to justice or held responsible for them. The government also failed to investigate a mass grave discovered in April, 2016 in Gorongosa district. The Mozambican government, pressured by its International partners, should fight against this impunity pattern which characterises the recent human rights violations, to allow the transformation of the ceasefire into a long lasting peace.


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