The Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD), a Mozambican non-governmental organisation (NGO), today described the human rights situation in the country in the last quarter of 2023 as “Grim”, accusing the police of killing innocent citizens.
“The situation is bleak, the Mozambican state, through its police, the rapid intervention forces, are the main instrument of abuse and violation of human rights, with the dominant note that in this period they have killed Mozambican citizens,” said Adriano Nuvunga, director of the CDD, at a press conference.
Nuvunga was speaking on the sidelines of the launch of the reports on the “Situation of Human Rights in the Fourth Quarter of 2023” and the “Situation of Human Rights During the Municipal Elections of 2023”, prepared by the NGO.
The CDD director pointed to the killing of citizens by the police in the Namicopo neighbourhood, in the northern province of Nampula, during opposition demonstrations against the results of the local elections on 11 October, as proof of the lack of respect for fundamental rights.
“I was in Namicopo, where the Mozambican state, through its police, deliberately killed Mozambicans,” he emphasised, and then argued that “the state must be brought to justice”.
He also pointed to the murder in December of journalist João Chamusse at his home in Maputo as another example of the deteriorating human rights situation in Mozambique.
“Nowhere does someone have to die (murdered), but particularly when it’s a journalist,” he emphasised.
Following the murder of João Chamusse, the police made arrests, but there are no known developments in the case.
The director of the CDD accused the police of having “death squads”, also blaming them for the death last July of the young Massacar Abacar, known as “Cebolinha”, in a cell at a police station in Maputo.
At the time, the police authorities said that “Cebolinha” died of natural causes, denying any responsibility for the death.
“We’re going to take the consequences [to those responsible for human rights violations], we’re going to take the cases of abuse to the PGR [Attorney General’s Office], because the state has to be held responsible,” emphasised Adriano Nuvunga, pointing out that police weapons are for protecting citizens and not for killing.
Yara Lamúgio, a human rights lawyer, who presented the report on the “Human Rights Situation During the 2023 Municipal Elections”, said that “the fourth quarter was the scene of successive human rights violations”.
The abuses “took place arbitrarily”, with an emphasis on violations against “the right to life and the right to demonstrate”.
Lusa contacted the commanding general of the Police of the Republic of Mozambique today, who said that the authorities had already made a full statement about the episodes that took place during the electoral period.
At the end of December, the general commander of the Republic of Mozambique Police (PRM) apologised for the deaths caused by the authorities, considering that these were “unforeseeable” episodes and that the corporation’s ambition was to guarantee order.
“There are always unpredictable situations and we had incidents here [Chiure] in which a young man lost his life. The police regret this and (…) we apologise for this incident and several others,” said Bernardino Rafael, during a rally in Cabo Delgado province.
“It’s not normal in the world for the commander-general of the police to come out and apologise, but because we want to bring about this humanisation of your police, it’s a moral, social and spiritual obligation of the commander-general to apologise for the mistakes made by police officers. We apologise to all the families for whom we didn’t provide the service as it should have been,” Bernardino Rafael added at the time.