Mozambique: UN urges for civilian protection in Cabo Delgado

Affected communities receiving WFP food relief in Cabo Delgado province, Mozambique Affected communities receiving WFP food relief in Cabo Delgado province, Mozambique UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe

13 November 2020

Amid reports of worsening human rights violations in northern Mozambique, the situation has been described as “desperate”

Over the past two weeks, several attacks have been carried out in multiple villages, with homes and public buildings burned and dozens of people killed in Cabo Delgado province in northern Mozambique. More specifically, with more than 50 people beheaded in recent days, the UN has called for urgent measures to protect civilians. 

The figures speak for themselves: more than 2,000 people since 2017 have been killed by the unrest and, according to Armed Conflict Location and Event Data group, more than half of them were civilians. In addition, at least 355,000 people have fled the province and are currently displaced, seeking refuge in nearby towns and cities. Since 16 October, over 14,000 have fled by sea and arrived in the provincial capital of Pemba. One of the boats has also been capsized, resulting in the killing of 40 people, including children. This insecurity scenario has further been exacerbated by the deprivation of any humanitarian aid for over six months in some areas, as many districts in the north have been cut off from the rest of the province. 

Michelle Bachelet, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, claimed that “it is paramount that State authorities ensure the protection of civilians inside and outside the conflict-affected areas and that humanitarian agencies are guaranteed safe, unhindered access to deliver life-saving assistance and protection”, adding that “this is particularly crucial given the risk of cholera and the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic”. To end her statement, she called for all such allegations to be investigated and for perpetrators to “be to account”. 


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Author: Barbara Caltabiano; Editor: Gianmarco Italia

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