Tag Archives: Mozambique

COVID19: EU supports Africa women

European Commission among the other prominent international players has been alarmed by the rising levels of violence against women and girls, mainly due to the COVID-19 pandemic confinement measures but also following the social-economic stress and insecurity that many families have to face.

In sub-Saharan Africa women are disproportionally more exposed to both health and economic risks, and this is linked to their roles and responsibilities in their communities or society as a whole. Unfortunately, according to available statistics the threat of child marriage is also greater when communities are affected by shocks like disease outbreak, when all the referral systems to prevent and respond to gender-based violence may underperform.

Responding to the significance attributed by the EU to gender equality and women and girls empowerment, including Africa, the European Commission currently invests in around 40 ongoing projects targeting or contributing to the elimination of violence against women and girls on the African continent amounting to approximately €310 million. The most significant one for a total amount of €250 million is the Spotlight Initiative (Africa envelope), – the largest global programme to eliminate violence against women and girls, with an initial investment of €500 million, launched in September 2017. The Initiative aims at eliminating all forms of VAWG in partner countries from five regions: Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America, Caribbean and Pacific.

In Sub Saharan Africa the objective is to prevent, combat and prosecute sexual and gender-based violence against women and girls, including the elimination of harmful practices, such as child, early and forced marriage and female genital mutilation. The programme is implemented in eight African countries (Liberia, Mali, Malawi, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Uganda and Zimbabwe) for a total amount of €220 million.

The African regional programme complements eight countries programmes with a substantive allocation of €30 million. An allocation of 10% of the overall Africa investment budget supports the women’s movement which is implemented by two existing UN Trust Funds (the UN Women Peace and Humanitarian Fund, and the UN Trust Fund to End Violence against Women and Girls).

According to the EU officials, following the COVID-19 pandemic crisis, the Commission is adapting and refocusing the EU-UN Spotlight Initiative to identify risk factors related to pandemic context and to respond to critical needs. Efforts are currently focussing on ensuring swift action to counter increased domestic violence, boost prevention, support survivors and support civil society organisations.

The EU supports the scale-up of existing hotlines, shelters and equipping health, police, justice and social protection sectors for women and girls. One good example is Mozambique, where Spotlight Initiative funding is being used to strengthen the preparedness of staff working in health centres and shelters to better assist victims. Protective gear and hygiene material is being supplied in these centres and shelters. Spotlight also supports police in better responding to violence cases by providing transport and mobile phones.

Other projects are mainly implemented by Civil Society Organisations (NGO). The EU contribution to these projects is close to €60 million, and they are implemented across the African continent.

The inclusion of the prevention of and response to gender-based violence, and is aligned to COVID-19 national prevention and containment measures, is the EU ongoing mission, for example, in Uganda, a consortium led by CARE Denmark, in partnership with other three international and four national NGOs, working on empowerment, accountability and leadership for refugees and host communities, will continue to provide prevention and response services to survivors of gender-based violence and work on other protection issues.

Experiences of past epidemics lead to conclusion that intimate partner violence and sexual exploitation and abuse increase during these periods. Based on this knowledge CARE and partners have adapted the assistance: case management will be provided remotely, while social workers stationed at the health facilities will support gender-based violence screening. For high risk cases, face-to-face interactions will continue, while maintaining social distancing and hand hygiene precautions. The EU’s humanitarian contribution to this action is €2.3 million. In 2019, it is estimated that the EU allocated approximately €26 million of its humanitarian aid budget to the prevention and response to gender-based violence worldwide.

Most EU-funded projects to eliminate violence against women and girls are implemented in partnership with the Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) or with international organisations. When the European Commission works with international organisations, the European civil servants also often work with CSOs. For the Spotlight Initiative it is foreseen that at country level, 30-50% should be delivered through CSOs. CSOs also play a crucial role in the design and the governance of the Spotlight Initiative, at national, regional and global level.

Following the COVID crisis, the EU is also providing flexible support to women’s organisations and grassroots organisations, including the much needed core funding. In this context, the EU in close collaboration with the UN is re-directing around €15 million to support and ensure business continuity of CSOs and mitigate challenges and risks linked to the COVID-19 crisis through two above mentioned UN Trust Funds. In the short term, the funds support activités to counter the increase of domestic violence under COVID-19 crisis, prevention, support to survivors, including Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR), and help provide a lifeline to women’s organisations, CSOs working on gender-based violence related issues.

The Commission adopted its Communication on a global response to COVID-19 in April 2020. This “Team Europe” response is a joint effort between the European Union, its member states and European financial institutions to mobilise resources to support partner countries’ efforts in tackling the coronavirus pandemic.

In order to ensure a comprehensive response, the EU’s response includes both urgent, short-term emergency measures, and more medium to long-term measures such as research and health systems strengthening (right to health), and mitigating the economic and social impact.

The response also includes social protection actions, addressing all inequalities and non-discrimination and promotion of human rights. The Communication recalls the importance “to promote and uphold good governance, human rights, the rule of law, gender equality and non-discrimination, decent work conditions, as well as fundamental values and humanitarian principles”.

Mozambique neutralised over 100 Islamists

Mozambique security forces killed at least 129 insurgents in the northern region Cabo Delgado that has been plagued by violence for at least the last three years, the interior minister said on April 28.

Since 2017, infrequent but violent raids on government buildings and villages by armed groups with suspected links to the Islamic State (ISIS) have intensified in northernmost province of one Africa’s poorest nations.

The interior ministry said the 129 killings were the total for the month, and were a retaliation for an attack in Xitaxi in Muidumbe district earlier in April, where insurgents killed 52 villagers.

The insurgents profile reamins obscure, though initial attacks were claimed by a group known as Ahlu Sunnah Wa-Jama. More recently, Islamic State (IS) has claimed a number of attacks.

Mozambique: Jihad strike in Cabo Delgado

Islamist militants have killed around 52 people in northern Mozambique Cabo Delgado province, police sourced confirmed.
The villagers in Cabo Delgado province were “massacred”, with some beheaded, after some people refused to be recruited into the militant group, police clarified.

Hundreds have been killed and thousands displaced during the three-year insurgency in Cabo Delgado.

A militant group calling itself al-Shabab operates in the area and last month briefly seized control of the town of Mocimboa de Praia.
It is unclear whether it is linked to the significantly larger Somali movement of the same name.

The attack took place in the village of Xitaxi in Muidumbe district on 7 April but came to light later.

Recently, the criminals tried to recruit young people to join their ranks, but there was resistance on the part of the youths. This provoked the anger of the criminals, who indiscriminately killed – cruelly and diabolically – 52 young people,” police spokesman Orlando Mudumane told reporters.
Cabo Delgado is one of Mozambique’s poorest regions, but is rich in untapped mineral resources.
In 2010, Mozambique discovered huge gas reserves in Rovuma Basin, off the Indian Ocean coast of Cabo Delgado.

There is speculation that the Mozambique authorities are now highlighting the 7 April incident in order to deflect attention from what is widely considered a propaganda coup for IS, which is actively seeking to build “franchise” operations in conflict zones across Africa” analyst Andrew Harding said.

Image: fishing net, Cabo Delgado, Mozambique

EU concerns over Mozambique security

The EU Council today adopted conclusions on Mozambique, reiterating the EU’s availability to support the country in the steps needed to address the current situation.

In its conclusions the Council recalls the importance of the Peace and National Reconciliation Agreement signed in August 2019 by the government of Mozambique and RENAMO, the Mozambican National Resistance. While restating its support to the agreement, the Council stresses the importance of disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration, as well as effective decentralisation, which are crucial for a long-lasting reconciliation.

The Council also expresses concerns over the continuously deteriorating security and humanitarian situation in the Cabo Delgado province, and calls upon the Mozambican authorities to take effective action in order to protect citizens, carry out investigations to bring perpetrators to justice, and identify the role of terrorist organisations.

In light of the situation, the Council underlines the EU’s readiness to engage in a dialogue to determine effective options for assistance, and to support relevant cross-border cooperation between Mozambique and its neighbours. The EU also stands ready to work with Mozambique to promote sustainable economic transformation and diversification, and to support Mozambique in the necessary economic and political governance reforms.

Finally the EU reiterates its solidarity to Mozambique and stands ready to support the government in its efforts to mitigate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the health sector, as well as its broader humanitarian, social and economic impact, affecting the people of Mozambique and particularly the poorest and most vulnerable.

The Council conclusions were adopted by written procedure.

ISIS claimed attack in Mozambique

The assailants destroyed houses, vandalised public spaces, and erected barricades along vital roads in Mozambique Cabo Delgado province. It is still unclear how many people were killed or wounded as most residents are still in hiding, and the government had yet to assess the situation.

The attackers were in control of the city until late on March 23-24 when Mozambican authorities said the fighters were dislodged.

But local press reports that the residents are still in shock and trying to come to terms with the attack.

The attack was claimed by an armed group, Ahlu Sunnah Wa-Jama, or ‘followers of the prophetic tradition’.

This was the most daring attack on Mocimboa da Praia, 90km (56 miles) from a major liquified natural gas project worth about $60bn.

The Islamist militant group has killed hundreds and displaced thousands since it launched attacks in October 2017, according to medical charity Doctors Without Borders (Medecins Sans Frontieres, or MSF).

More recently, the terrorist group ISIS has claimed responsibility via its media outlets, though there has been no independent confirmation of a link.

Russia to maintain defense co-operation with Mozambique

Russia will maintain defense co-operation with Mozambique at a level that the African country finds appropriate, Russian Ambassador in Mozambique Alexander Surikov said in an interview to Russian news agency TASS.

We have a rather advanced legal framework as far as defense cooperation with Mozambique is concerned,” he stated. “During recent visits, we made an agreement facilitating Russian warships’ visits to Mozambique’s ports. Cooperation will continue at a level that Mozambique finds appropriate,” the diplomat underlined.

H.E. Surikov pointed out that the USSR had provided assistance to Mozambique during its war for independence. “It is no wonder that Mozambique’s coat of arms features an AK rifle,” he noted.

Mozambique is now a peaceful country, the war for independence is over, and our cooperation declined accordingly, it has never been permanent,” the diplomat pointed out. “Depending on the situation, we provide more assistance to our friends in Mozambique when they need it and reduce the amount of help when they have no need for it. When they need additional resources, Russia provides assistance in accordance with their requests,” he explained.

H.E.Surikov rejected allegations that Russia sought to interfere in the domestic affairs of African countries. “Some have been raising this issue in relation to Mozambique because the country’s government is carrying out a series of operations against armed gangs active in the north of Mozambique, where several rich deposits of natural resources are located,” he added.

Mogherini appoints observers to Mozambique

Following an invitation from the Mozambican authorities, the European Union will deploy an Election Observation Mission (EOM) in the country, to observe the general elections which will be held on 15 October. This decision reflects once again the European Union’s commitment to support democracy in Mozambique, where the EU has observed all elections conducted since 1994.

The EU top diplomat Federica Mogherini has appointed as Chief Observer of the Election Observation Mission Ignacio Sánchez Amor (pictured), Member of the European Parliament (MEP).

The 2019 elections in Mozambique come at an important moment in the country’s history, when real progress towards a comprehensive peace agreement opens the way to permanent reconciliation and accelerating reform”, said Mogherini.”A successful electoral process can help to generate the stability and confidence needed for growth and development. I am confident that Chief Observer Ignacio Sánchez Amor MEP will lead a successful EOM that will once more contribute positively to the strengthening of democracy in Mozambique.”

“I feel honoured to head the EU EOM to Mozambique. These elections take place in the context of important changes in the country’s administrative structure, notably with the decentralization of key aspects of governance. My objective is for the EOM to provide a positive input – through impartial and objective assessments and constructive recommendations – to an overall credible, transparent and inclusive process. And I would add that we will of course continue our work with the Mozambican authorities to implement recommendations from previous observation missions”, Chief Observer Sánchez Amor reacted.

The Electoral Observation Mission’s core team, consisting of 9 analysts, will arrive in Maputo on 31 August. The team will stay in the country until the completion of the electoral process, and will prepare a comprehensive final report. The core team will be joined shortly after its arrival by 32 long-term observers to be deployed across the country. A further 76 short-term observers will be deployed around election day. The EU EOM also looks forward to cooperating and communicating with other international and domestic observation missions.

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