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Mozambique needs to take more actions to protect the rights of defenders and LGBTIQ persons.

Mozambique has accepted 236 of the 266 recommendations received. While this highlights a slight progress since their last Universal Periodic Review (UPR), the human rights situation in the country still needs large structural improvements.

During the session dedicated to the adoption of the UPR of Mozambique, the Minister of Justice Helena Mateus Kida presented the last outcomes of its examination. Several states and organisations from civil society have commended Mozambique acceptance of recommendations notably on child marriage prevention, child labour and girl and women empowerment. The inclusion of young people’s participation during this third cycle was also highly appreciated.

In a joint statement, the ISHR and the Center for Democracy and Development welcomed Mozambique’s acceptance of the recommendations aiming at protecting freedom of expression and peaceful demonstrations. However, they shared their concerns on the situation of human defenders which remains sensitive as they face harassment, intimidation and threats. They both called on Mozambique to ensure human rights defenders protection, to give full force to a proper national implementation of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, to impartially combat impunity and to adopt the changes of the Law of Association to make sure it no longer restricts the rights and activities of civil society.

In addition, other NGOs reported that even though 8 recommendations concerning gender identity and sexual orientation have been accepted, all the recommendations relating to LGBT issues and on the access to abortion for rural women were noted. In echo to that, the organisations recalled that the situation for sexual minorities remains alarming as same-sex relationships are still perceived as a crime in the country and some LGBTIQ associations face difficulties in obtaining an official registration.

Finally, Mozambique was urged to prioritise the implementation of recommendations related to the conflict affected area of Cabo Delgado and to ensure that journalists and human rights defenders on site can exercise their activities safely.

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Defenders protection mechanisms must include defenders

On 30 April, ISHR delivered a statement following the presentation of the report of the Special Rapporteur on defenders in Africa. The statement focused on the need to include civil society in the newly established protection mechanisms and the need for the Special Rapporteur to publish their first report on reprisals against those who engage with African human rights mechanisms.

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