Human Rights: General Peace Agreement for Mozambique
II. Freedom of association, expression and political activity
(a) All citizens shall have the right to freedom of expression, association, assembly, demonstration and political activity. Administrative and tax regulations shall in no case be used to prevent or hamper the exercise of these rights for political reasons. These rights shall not extend to the activities of unlawful private paramilitary groups or groups which promote violence in any form or terrorism, racism or separatism.
(b) Freedom of association, expression and political activity shall encompass access, without discrimination, to the use of public places and facilities. Such use shall be conditional on submission of an application to the competent administrative authorities, who must give a decision within 48 hours after the submission of the application. Applications may be rejected only for reasons of public order or for organizational considerations.
III. Liberty of movement and freedom of residence
All citizens shall have the right to move about throughout the country without having to obtain administrative authorisation.
All citizens have the right to choose to reside anywhere in the national territory and to leave or return to the country.
According to Human Rights Watch reports on the situation of human rights in Mozambique, Mozambican citizens in the major towns continued to enjoy the freedoms recognized in the 1990 constitution and related legislation. Political parties were able to function. The press law enacted by the government in 1991, which guaranteed freedom of press, had led to a flowering of independent journalism, including candid coverage of the war, famine, corruption, and banditry. However, there had been incidents of harassment and censorship of journalists, and in April a journalist at Notícias, Noe Ditimande, was dismissed after criticizing two senior government figures. The government also began to disclose the fate of dissidents detained and executed after independence in 1975. Prison conditions and the rights of detainees had improved in comparison to previous years, but remained well below international standards.1
- 1. “Mozambique,” Human Rights Watch World Report, 1993, accessed September 13, 2010, http://www.hrw.org/reports/1993/WR93/Afw-06.htm#P289_114819.
According to the U.S. State Department Human Rights Report, “the Rome Accord addressed political party registration, organization of the electoral system, the size of the military, political amnesty, and oversight of the state intelligence service. Approximately sixteen unarmed political parties were active in 1993, eleven of which met the registration criteria set by the Government. FRELIMO and the Mozambican National Union (UNAMO) were registered by the end of 1992. The former insurgents, the Mozambican National Resistance (RENAMO), had acquired political party status as a result of the peace accord.” Freedom of assembly, religion, and movement were protected by the constitution as well as the peace agreement.2
- 2. “Mozambique Human Rights Practices, 1993,” U.S. Department of State, January 31, 1994, accessed September 13, 2010, http://dosfan.lib.uic.edu/ERC/democracy/1993_hrp_report/93hrp_report_afr....
Following decades of war, Mozambique enjoyed in 1994 its second year of peace and a significantly improved human rights situation.3
- 3. “Mozambique Human Rights Practices, 1994,” U.S. Department of State, January 31, 1995, accessed September 13, 2010, http://dosfan.lib.uic.edu/ERC/democracy/1994_hrp_report/94hrp_report_afr....
“After Mozambique's first ever multi-party elections in October 1994, human rights practices improved throughout the country. For many observers Mozambique is seen as a success story in Africa with a bloody civil war ended and elections generally considered free and fair. However, significant human rights concerns remain, including restrictions on freedom of movement and expression in some areas controlled by the former rebel Mozambique National Resistance (RENAMO), heavy-handed and intimidatory government policing, and appalling prison conditions.”4
- 4. “Mozambique,” Human Rights Watch World Report, 1996, accessed September 13, 2010, http://www.hrw.org/reports/1996/WR96/Africa-06.htm#P445_101189.
The U.S. State Department Human Rights Report suggested significant improvement in Mozambique’s human rights situation.5
- 5. “Mozambique Country Report on Human Rights Practices for 1996,” U.S. Department of State, January 30, 1997, accessed September 13, 2010, http://www.state.gov/www/global/human_rights/1996_hrp_report/mozambiq.html.
The State Department Human Rights Report suggested significant improvement in Mozambique’s human rights situation.6 Human rights practices continued to improve in many parts of the country in 1997.7 However, human rights concerns remained, including restrictions on freedom of expression and freedom of movement by the former armed opposition, Mozambique National Resistance (RENAMO), heavy-handed policing, and appalling prison conditions.8
- 6. “Mozambique Country Report on Human Rights Practices for 1997,” U.S. Department of State, January 30, 1998, accessed September 13, 2010, http://www.state.gov/www/global/human_rights/1997_hrp_report/mozambiq.html.
- 7. “Mozambique.” Human Rights Watch World Report. 1998, accessed September 13, 2010, http://www.hrw.org/legacy/worldreport/Africa-08.htm#P686_179007..
- 8. Ibid.
“Mozambique continued to consolidate peace and reconciliation, five years after the peace accord, with the 1999 presidential and parliamentary elections to be a litmus test of how sustainable the peace was to be. Despite improvements, human rights concerns including heavy-handed policing and the manipulation of the electoral process remained.”9
- 9. “Mozambique,” Human Rights Watch World Report, 1999, accessed September 13, 2010, http://www.hrw.org/legacy/worldreport99/africa/mozambique.html.
Notwithstanding that 1999 was an election year, human rights concerns, including heavy-handed policing and appalling prison conditions, remained a problem, though there were a number of improvements in human rights practices.10
“Improvements in the respect for human rights were not as dramatic” according to the Human Rights Watch Report of 2000.11 According to a U.S. State Department Report, “The Government's human rights record was generally poor. Police continued to commit numerous abuses, including extrajudicial killings, disappearances, excessive use of force, torture, and other abuses. Police officers tortured and beat persons in custody, and abused prostitutes and street children. In September the president of the League of Human Rights (LDH), a local non-governmental organization, noted that the LDH documented an overall decline in the respect of human rights by police forces during the year.”12
According to a U.S. State Department Human Rights Practice Report, “The Government's human rights record remained poor, and although there were some improvements in a few areas, it continued to commit serious abuses. Police continued to commit numerous abuses, including extrajudicial killings, excessive use of force, torture, and other abuses. Police officers tortured and beat persons in custody, and abused prostitutes and street children. During the year, the president of the League of Human Rights (LDH), a local nongovernmental organization (NGO), noted that the human rights situation in general had deteriorated in several areas, such as police corruption, brutality, and intimidation; labor strife, and other societal concerns. Prison conditions remained extremely harsh and life threatening; several prisoners died due to the harsh conditions.”13
The U.S. State Department Human Rights Practice Report did not suggest any improvement in 2002 from the previous year.14
- 13. “Mozambique - Country Reports on Human Rights Practices 2001,” U.S. State Department, March 4, 2002, accessed September 13, 2010, http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2001/af/8394.htm.
- 14. “Mozambique - Country Reports on Human Rights Practices 2002,” U.S. State Department, March 31, 2003, accessed September 13, 2010, http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/2002/18217.htm.