The United Nations urge to fight against illegal practices against women in Mozambique

Press release

FIDH and its member organization, the Mozambique Human Rights League (LMDH), welcome the recent adoption by the UN Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW Committee) of its concluding comments on Mozambique.

On the occasion of the Committee’s 38th session, FIDH and LMDH submitted to the Committee’s independant experts an alternative report, focusing on the persistence of illegal and discriminatory practices against women in Mozambique. The concluding comments issued by the CEDAW Committee largely reflect these concerns.

The CEDAW Committee deplored the persistence of violence against women, in particular domestic violence, which remains widespread in the country. The experts expressed deep concern regarding the prevalence of trafficking in women, often linked to forced prostitution and condemed the persistence of forced marriages.

«These harmful traditional practices legitimised by patriarchal attitudes are often linked to gaps in legislation. Thus, as advocated in our alternative report, the Committee urged Mozambique to adopt the draft law against domestic violence as soon as possible and to ensure that marital rape is prosecuted and punished. They also called upon the authorities to establish an effective anti-trafficking law with prevention measures, prosecution and punishment of traffickers. The experts also insisted on the necessity to explicitly recognize the negative effects of forced marriages and asked for an end to this practice», declared Sophie Bessis, FIDH mission delegate.

The experts also expressed concern that discrimination in practice, obstructing the effectiveness of women’s-rights-protection laws, remains common. They notably regretted the persistence of early marriages as well as polygamy, despite the fact that these practices are prohibited by the new Family Law.

Finally, the UN experts called on the authorities to ensure that women have access to justice, notably for them to assert their rights guaranteed by the instruments on women’s rights ratified by Mozambique including the CEDAW Convention.

«Although there has been progress in legislation, women in Mozambique continue to suffer from widespread discrimination in practice. There is an urgent need for Mozambique to undertake awareness-raising campaigns to inform women of their rights. We urge the authorities in Mozambique to widely disseminate the recommendations of the CEDAW Committee», said Alice Mabota, President of LMDH.

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