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MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION on the humanitarian situation in Mozambique

15.9.2020 - (2020/2784(RSP))

with request for inclusion in the agenda for a debate on cases of breaches of human rights, democracy and the rule of law
pursuant to Rule 144 of the Rules of Procedure

Marisa Matias
on behalf of the GUE/NGL Group

Postopek : 2020/2784(RSP)
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European Parliament resolution on the humanitarian situation in Mozambique


The European Parliament,

 having regard to its previous resolutions on Mozambique,

 having regard the SADC-EU Economic Partnership Agreement joined by Mozambique joined the 4th of February 2018; 

 having regard to the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the 1966 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, 

 having regard to the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights, 

 having regard to the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance, 

 having regard to Rules 144 of its Rules of Procedure,

A. Whereas in 2010 and 2013, immense gas reserves were discovered in Mozambique: approximately 5,000 billion cubic meters, the 9th largest gas reserves in the world; whereas it is expected that at least $ 60 billion will be invested over the next few years to exploit these reserves, the largest investments ever made in sub-Saharan Africa; whereas a corruption scandal linked to the exploitation of hydrocarbon reserves plunged the country into economic and financial crisis in 2016;

B. Whereas for several seasons, all of southern Africa has suffered from severe episodes of drought followed by floods and storms of unprecedented magnitude, attributed by experts to global warming. According to the UN, some 45 million inhabitants of the southern tip of the continent are today threatened by famine; whereas Mozambique is among the five countries on the planet most threatened by climate change, according to the World Bank;

C. Whereas since the 14 of March 2019 Nearly 100,000 people affected by tropical cyclone Idai over Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi continue to live in makeshift shelters; whereas three months after the passage of Idai, the UN had estimated at 3.2 billion dollars the amount of the envelope necessary for reconstruction work in Mozambique, but the amount of aid pledges from international donors had only reached $ 1.2 billion at the time; whereas as of June 2020, there were 95,338 displaced (54% total IDPs are children) and resettled in 72 sites distributed among four provinces all in the central region of the country with 82% of the sites located in Sofala and Manica provinces;

D.   whereas Mozambique is facing multiple and consecutive deteriorating humanitarian situation because of COVID-19 pandemic, internal insecurity, and natural disasters with at least 7.9 million people in need of immediate assistance; whereas Health and socio-economic impacts of COVID-19 are worsening existing complex dynamics caused by multiple shocks, including natural disasters and an escalating situation of agression in the Northern Mozambique; whereas COVID-19 pandemic has escalated the food security situation  exhausting families’ coping capacities; whereas internally displaced persons (IDPs) are at increased risk to get infected with COVID- 19  due to the crowded living conditions in host communities or camps;

E.  whereas in the Northern province of the country, Cabo Delgado, the security situation has worsened significantly since 2017, with the increase of violent terrorist attacks by non-identified armed groups and subsequent population displacement; whereas more than 100 attacks were reported by UNDSS in six districts in the northern part of the country and 211,485 persons were internally displaced as of June 2020 within the province; whereas according to ACLED, more than 1,500 people have died in Cabo Delgado as a result of the  terrorist agression since since October 2017, including more than 960 civilians;

F.  whereas many analysts stress the complexity of the situation, built on a tangle of social, religious and political tensions, exacerbated by the explosion of inequalities and human rights violations linked to gas projects and the serious abuses involving various armed and terrorist groups ; whereas since 2017 a group known locally as Al-Shabaab, allegedly affiliated with the terrorist armed group calling itself Islamic State of Central Africa Province, has attacked government forces and civilians in Cabo Delgado; whereas there are also smugglers, and private security companies working for large gas, ruby, gold and graphite extractive undertakings as well as international mercenary groups (such as the Wagner Group and the Dyck Advisory Group);

G.  whereas the terrorist groups have committed multiple human rights abuses, including the beheading of civilians, mass kidnappings and the razing of whole villages;

H.  whereas on 9 September 2020, Amnesty International published an investigation which analyzed evidence of serious human rights violations committed by security forces in Cabo Delgado province; whereas the investigation shows the attempted beheading, torture and other ill-treatment of prisoners, the dismemberment of alleged opposition fights, possible executions, and the transport and discarding of a large number of corpses into apparent mass graves;

I. whereas more than half of the people affected by violence in Cabo Delgado are children; whereas the complaints regarding the recruitment of children into armed groups, kidnappings, and sexual and gender based violence against women and girls;

J. whereas the intensification of the terrorist attacks in Cabo Delgado has forced thousands of people to flee; whereas internally displaced persons (IDPs) are at increased risk to get infected with COVID- 19  due to the crowded living conditions in host communities or camps with limited resources to protect themselves, and often with a precarious livelihood; whereas while all IDPs are vulnerable during an emergency, certain groups such as women, children, older persons, persons living with HIV/AIDS and people with disabilities face heightened protection risks and have specific protection needs; Whereas the economic and social situation is leading to the increase of  gender-based violence, child marriage and prostitution;

K. whereas Cabo Delgado has suffered under-investment for decades, a problem made worse by natural disasters and the spread of COVID-19 across the region; whereas the area is rich in liquid natural gas, rubies, graphite and timber, and international companies are competing for access to the region, including European firms such as Total, ENI Galp, Grafex and Mota-Engil;

L. whereas despite a resurgence of violence on the spot, the pandemic which is hitting the region hard and the collapse in gas prices, the French oil group Total is continuing to carry out its project in Mozambique; whereas with a 26.5% stake, the company is the largest investor, ahead of the American ExxonMobil, the Italian ENI and some private banks such as Crédit Agricole and Société Générale; whereas the exploitation of natural resources should start in 2022;

M. Whereas the strategy of militarization protect as a priority the gas installations, to the detriment of the civilian populations; whereas in February 2020, Total and ExxonMobil demanded the government to mobilize a further 300 soldiers to protect their installations and signed an agreement with the Mozambican Ministry of Defence to pay directly a part of the salaries of these special forces; whereas the main operators have even signed an agreement with the Mozambican government to finance the private security companies; whereas the militarization of the area and gas activities contribute to fueling tensions in the region; whereas private security companies: Russian, American, South African but also French, are increasingly present on the ground; whereas among them is the one of Erik Prince, the former boss of the American company of mercenaries Blackwater, well known for its disastrous activities in the wars in Libya and Afghanistan; 

N. Whereas the exploitation of gas reserves could lead to a real ecological disaster; whereas the French government is supporting one of the gas projects by granting an export guarantee of more than 500 million euros; whereas this support in total contradiction with the public engagement of French president Emmanuel Macron during the Climate Convention; whereas further public financial aid of this type could still be granted in the near future;

O. Whereas 76% of Mozambique’s working population live on family farming and exploit 97% of cultivated land; whereas even if a diversification took place in the past years, the increases yields are insufficient, forcing Mozambique to continue importing major part of its food goods; whereas the incomes of small farmers are very fragile because their yields are limited and irregular; whereas land grabbing by multinationals remain a great issue in the country; whereas with the gas boom, more than 550 families are deprived of their land, access to the sea and of their livelihoods;

P.  whereas journalists, researchers, academics and others who hold critical views about the Mozambican government have been subjected to harassment, intimidation, abduction, judicial prosecution and torture in recent years; whereas Ibraimo Abú Mbaruco, a radio journalist  in Palma district was disappear on 7 April 2020;

Q. whereas on 23 August 2020 the independent weekly newspaper Canal de Moçambique, was burned; whereas in the past few months, Canal has been under enormous government pressure; whereas the attack came four days after the newspaper published an investigative story alleging the existence of an illegal secret contract between the Ministry of Defence, the Ministry of the Interior and natural gas companies in Cabo Delgado;

R. Whereas Mozambique is among the poorest and least developed countries, ranking 180th out of 189 on the Human Development Index with a life expectancy at birth of only 58 years; whereas more than 10 million Mozambicans live in extreme poverty and food insecurity; whereas this situation affect especially women and vulnerable groups who experience the greatest difficulties;

S. Whereas Mozambique experiences a malnutrition burden among its under-five population; whereas 41% of infants under 6 months are exclusively breastfed, this is well below the Eastern Africa average of 59.7%; whereas Mozambique's 2015 low birth weight prevalence of 13.8% has decreased slightly from 16.7% in 2000; whereas Mozambique's adult population also face a malnutrition burden; whereas 51% of women of reproductive age have anaemia; whereas following the countrywide closure of schools on 23 March, 235,000 children are no longer accessing critical school feeding programmes and malnutrition is expected to worsen in the period ahead; whereas an estimated 67,500 children will require treatment for malnutrition in the next nine months;

T. Whereas Mozambique's significant debt, contracted in particular to finance a defense program supposed to enable it to ensure its sovereignty over its gas fields, keeps the country dependent on foreign powers; whereas these foreign countries, led by France, are relying on this relationship to promote the establishment in the territory of multinationals that covet hydrocarbon ruby, gold and graphite reserves and to intensify the military cooperation with the country notably in marine safety and by selling weapons; whereas different NGO’s denounce the fact that these weapons are now in the hand of paramilitary forces in the region;

U.   Whereas the UN and humanitarian community recently launched two appeals, the COVID-19 Flash Appeal and the Rapid Response Plan for Cabo Delgado, totalling approximately $103 million, to address the most critical needs of millions of people facing severe humanitarian conditions, who would be unable to withstand the health and socio-economic impact of the pandemic, including those who have been displaced by the increasing insecurity in northern Mozambique;

1. Condemns the terrorist aggression led by armed groups in Cabo Delgado since October 2017 and expresses its condolences to the victims and their families and friends; specifically condemns sexual violence and the increasing vulnerability and discrimination suffered by girls and women in this province;

2. Considers that Mozambique has the inalienable right to defend it’s sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity;

3. Insists on the fact that the fight against terrorists groups could be efficient only if we address the causes and specifically problems related to inequality, exclusion, unemployment and poverty; highlights the fact that the terrorist attacks shouldn’t be a pretext to derogate the rule of law and restrict human rights and fundamental freedoms or to commit crimes;

4. Calls on Mozambican authorities to immediately order security forces to cease all ill-treatment of detainees and other human rights violation in Cabo Delgado; calls for an independent and transparent investigation for any human rights violations including the torture or extrajudicial execution of detainees;

5.  Condemns the militarization of the region which leads to more tension and destabilisation; condemns the role played by multinationals in the explosion of violence and the destabilization of the region, including through the financing of paramilitary groups and by the land grabbing depriving many families of their income;

6. Stresses the need to coordinate humanitarian responses beyond the increase in military actions by the state armed forces and private security groups to combat the insurgent groups;

7. Ensures that in order to reverse the current situation in Cabo Delgado, Mozambique authorities should be supported in their quest for the defence of the countries territorial integrity; considers furthermore that development support should be granted to the implementation of a national development plan for the region,, which should be drawn up collectively by the main players in the area, taking into account the participation and proposals of the most excluded sectors, particularly women and young people, and their needs and visions in the plans for the recovery of the social, economic, political and cultural life of the region;

8. Considers that the peaceful resolution of conflicts can only take place through respect for human rights, especially the inalienable right of the people to dispose of themselves and their resources; encourage Mozambique’s authorities to support and work with civil society organizations and community based groups to introduce platforms for peace-building initiatives that encourage peaceful engagement, dialogue, reconciliation and co-existence amongst all the stakeholders;

9. Highlights the need to guarantee the Mozambique’s right to food sovereignty, which includes the right of farmers to produce food for their people, by putting an end to land-grabbing and guaranteeing farmers access to land, seed and water;

10. Reminds the authorities of their obligation to protect their citizens and guarantee their human security, based on the right to life;

11. Urges the authorities to fully guarantee freedom of expression and the political activities of civil society organizations;

12. Points out that the cutting up of the country by the multinationals increases the inequalities and anger of the Mozambican people, which ultimately feeds the jihadist groups in the north of the country since the discovery of particularly important fossil resources; Expresses concern about the anger caused by this unchecked monopolisation of natural resources and the indiscriminate repression carried out by national authorities and private militias which may help recruit new terrorist insurgents;

13. stresses that making the economy of an entire country dependent on the income from the export of gas and other fossil fuels is an extremely dangerous gamble in the face of climate peril and is detrimental to social justice and the sharing of wealth;

14. draws attention to the fact that Mozambique is a country that is particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, as demonstrated by Cyclone Idai in March 2019 ;

15. Reiterates that the activities of European companies present in third countries must be entirely consistent with international human rights standards; calls, therefore, on the Member States to ensure that companies which come under their national law do not disregard human rights or the social, health and environmental standards which apply to them when moving to, or doing business in, a third country; calls on the Commission and Member States to take the requisite action against European companies which do not comply with those standards or which do not adequately compensate victims of human rights violations for which they are directly or indirectly responsible;

16. Calls more specifically, with regard to the Mozambique, for an independent investigation under the auspices of UN into compliance by European companies with labour and environmental standards, in particular in the natural resources sector and with specific reference to gas, and into the involvement of these companies in the funding of armed groups; calls, similarly, for an international investigation on the involvement of foreign countries, notably EU member states, in the subventionning of project which would lead to a natural and social disaster;

17. underlines the hypocrisy of President Macron who, in 2019, assured the UN that the major countries of the world must stop financing new polluting installations in developing countries and who, on the other hand, continues to grant one and a half billion euros in guarantees over the last two years to fossil fuel development projects such as in Mozambique; calls on the French government to cancel the "French Gas Days" in Maputo scheduled for next year by Business France, the public agency responsible for promoting the internationalisation of the French economy ;

18. calls on French private banks to withdraw today from the three projects under development and to commit to ending in the future all financial services to projects related to the exploration, exploitation and export of Mozambican gas reserves; calls on the French government to commit not to provide financial support for the other two projects under development (Mozambique LNG, Rovuma LNG), or any other future projects related to Mozambique's gas reserves;

19. Calls on the international community, and first and foremost the Mozambique’s ‘creditor’ countries in particular United States as 1st bilateral donor and the countries of the European Union (the EU is the 3rd donor after the United States and the World Bank, 1st if we include the cooperation of the Member States ), to remove the barriers to the development of the Mozambique, and thus to the establishment of peace, by cancelling its debt and the debt interest the country continues to pay and by implementing genuine international cooperation based on the upholding of fundamental human rights, fight against climate change and Mozambique sovereignty and territorial integrity, instead of free-trade agreements and structural adjustment plans; urges the Mozambique authorities to insist on an audit of their debts and the cancellation of all debts incurred illegitimately with foreign creditors, with a view to a comprehensive debt write-off and so that the basic human needs of the country's population can be met;

20.  Calls on the EU and its Member States to increase funding for humanitarian action in Cabo Delgado and to answer positively to the  UN and humanitarian community appeals of funding;

21. calls for the EU and its Member States to provide assistance in the form of grants rather than loans, so as to avoid making the debt burden heavier; deplores the fact that many EU Member States have not met the target of earmarking 0.7% of GNI for development aid and that some have lowered the percentage that they spend on such aid; deplores the fact that Member States are cutting back their involvement in food aid programmes;  calls for the aid provided by the EU and the Member States in Mozambique to be used, as a priority, to address problems linked to severe inequalities, poverty, chronic malnutrition, access to health and public services, notably reproductive healthcare, and the achievement of the sustainable development goals; calls, similarly, for food aid to be increased and to be used, as a priority, to buy food from local producers;

22. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the Council, the Commission, the national parliaments of the Member States, the President, Government and Parliament of Mozambique, the Representatives of the African Union, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.


Zadnja posodobitev: 15. september 2020
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