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Thursday, 17 September 2020 - Brussels
The humanitarian situation in Mozambique

European Parliament resolution of 17 September 2020 on the humanitarian situation in Mozambique (2020/2784(RSP))

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948,

–  having regard to the international conventions and protocols against terrorism,

–  having regard to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) of 1966,

–  having regard to the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs),

–  having regard to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) Mozambique Situation Report of 10 September 2020(1),

–  having regard to the OCHA Mozambique Situation Report of 29 June 2020,

–  having regard to the opinion on Mozambique adopted at the 87th session of the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (UNWGAD) on 1 May 2020,

–  having regard to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) reports on Mozambique,

–  having regard to the report of the UN Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review of 12 April 2016,

–  having regard to the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, adopted by the UN General Assembly on 10 December 1984, and to the Optional Protocol thereto, adopted by the UN General Assembly on 18 December 2002,

–  having regard to the Council conclusions on Mozambique of 22 April 2020,

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 9 March 2020 entitled ‘Towards a comprehensive Strategy with Africa’ (JOIN(2020)0004),

–  having regard to the EU Annual Report on Human Rights and Democracy in the World 2019: Mozambique,

–  having regard to the EU’s National Indicative Programme Mozambique and the 11th European Development Fund 2014-2020,

–  having regard to the European Union Election Observation Mission (EU EOM) to Mozambique Final Report on the General and Provincial Assembly Elections of 15 October 2019,

–  having regard to the Cotonou Agreement,

–  having regard to the 28th Political Dialogue between the EU and Mozambique of 5 June 2020,

–  having regard to the Economic Partnership Agreement between the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the EU,

–  having regard to its previous resolutions on Mozambique and the SADC region,

–  having regard to the statement of 29 June 2020 by the Co-President of ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly,

–  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 the Organization of African Unity Convention on the Prevention and Combating of Terrorism,

–  having regard to the founding principles of the SADC,

–  having regard to the SADC conclusions of 17 August 2020 on Mozambique,

–  having regard to the Peace and National Reconciliation Agreement of 2019,

–  having regard to Rules 144(5) and 132(4) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.  whereas since October 2017 the so-called Al-Shabaab terrorist group, allegedly affiliated with the armed group calling itself Islamic State of Central Africa Province, has launched over 500 violent attacks in the northern Cabo Delgado province, terrorising the local population, claiming over 1 500 lives and leading to the displacement of over 250 000 people and over 700 000 people requiring assistance;

B.  whereas the terrorist attacks have become more and more violent, and numerous villages have been attacked, with over 1 000 homes burned or destroyed; whereas there have been reports that militants have begun kidnapping women and girls;

C.  whereas in August jihadist groups captured the strategic port city of Mocimboa da Praia, which is a crucial port for the facilitation of oil and liquefied natural gas (LNG) exploitation; whereas Al-Shabaab’s continued hold on the city suggests that the terrorist group is becoming stronger and more sophisticated;

D.  whereas the Islamist insurgents are increasingly resorting to the illegal drug trade as a source of financing;

E.  whereas Mozambique has no history of Islamist militancy; whereas about 30 per cent of Mozambique’s 31 million people are Roman Catholics, while 18 per cent are Muslim and only two provinces – Cabo Delgado and Niassa – have a Muslim majority;

F.  whereas the military actions by the Mozambican authorities have not been able to stop the attacks and allow this humanitarian emergency, which has been deteriorating at an alarming rate, to be tackled;

G.  whereas Mozambican government security forces have responded with disproportionate violence, at times in contravention of international human rights commitments; whereas the Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi had admitted to ‘involuntary violations’ of human rights by the authorities in Cabo Delgado; whereas incidents of crackdowns on freedom of expression, as well as harassment of journalists, have been reported;

H.  whereas the Mozambican army is ill-equipped to deal with the surge in terrorism in the region; whereas legitimate fears persist that the insurgency will spread to neighbouring countries and destabilise the region;

I.  whereas more than half of the people affected by violence in Cabo Delgado are children; whereas there have been complaints regarding the recruitment of children into armed groups, kidnappings and sexual and gender-based violence against women and girls; whereas the population is often taken hostage in the fighting between armed groups and state military forces;

J.  whereas Mozambique has an obligation to uphold fundamental human rights standards through the international conventions which it has ratified, particularly in its detention facilities; whereas the barbaric actions attributed to Al-Shabaab should not be met by further violations of human rights by the security forces of Mozambique;

K.  whereas the Agency for the Integrated Development of the North, ADIN (Agencia de desenvolvimento integrado do norte), was launched in March 2020 with the specific aim of addressing the north’s socio-economic shortcomings;

L.  whereas in August 2019 a Peace and National Reconciliation Agreement was signed with the aim of bringing peace to the country, ending violence, achieving democratic inclusion and improving the human and civil rights situation;

M.  whereas Mozambique remains in a very fragile situation and is struggling to cope with numerous security, economic and social challenges; whereas Mozambique is among the poorest and least developed countries, ranking 180th out of 189 on the Human Development Index, with the average life expectancy at birth standing at only 58 years; whereas more than 10 million Mozambicans live in extreme poverty and food insecurity; whereas this situation particularly affects women and vulnerable groups, who experience the greatest difficulties;

N.  whereas COVID-19 has further exposed the fragilities of the regional economy, which, in the absence of adequate social protection, has left millions of people employed in the informal economy and those who have lost their jobs facing hunger and destitution, and exposed to vulnerabilities, including in some cases basic human rights abuses; whereas Mozambique has registered a total of over 4 500 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the 11 provinces of the country and 27 deaths, as of 9 September 2020;

O.  whereas Mozambique has experienced devastating climate-related natural disasters in recent years, including two major cyclones in 2019, which have compounded already high poverty levels and insecurity; whereas such disasters have led to widespread food insecurity and chronic malnutrition in parts of the country, with over 43 per cent of children under the age of five stunted; whereas a total of 7,9 million people are estimated to be in need of urgent humanitarian assistance in 2020;

P.  whereas solidarity within Mozambique has been growing, with the plight of the people in Cabo Delgado attracting particular attention, which has led young people in Mozambique in particular to launch a National Solidarity Campaign for Cabo Delgado under the hashtag #CaboDelgadoTambénÉMocambique (Cabo Delgado is also Mozambique) in order to raise awareness of the tragic situation in the region;

Q.  whereas in 2010 and 2013, immense gas reserves were discovered in Mozambique: whereas these reserves comprise approximately 5 000 billion cubic meters, the 9th largest gas reserves in the world; whereas this potentially places Mozambique among the four largest producers of LNG in the world; whereas it is expected that at least USD 60 billion will be invested over the next few years to exploit these reserves, the largest investments ever made in sub-Saharan Africa;

R.  whereas European and all other foreign industrial and economic interests in Mozambique should be conducted with the UN`s Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights at their roots; whereas the Commission is exploring mandatory due diligence commitments to ensure that EU investors and those involved in the extraction industries act responsibly and contribute to local development in countries such as Mozambique;

S.  whereas Mozambique and, in particular, the Cabo Delgado region, while demonstrating Mozambique’s highest rates of illiteracy, inequality and child malnutrition, is rich in natural resources and raw materials, something which has attracted investment by numerous international and EU companies which are competing for market access of natural resources; whereas, according to some reports, the revenues from natural resources have been unevenly distributed in Mozambique;

T.  whereas on 13 April 2020, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) approved immediate debt service relief to 25 member countries, including some USD 309 million to Mozambique under the Catastrophe Containment and Relief Trust (CCRT) to help address the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic;

U.  whereas on 4 June 2020, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Mozambique, Myrta Kaulard, called on the international community to scale up its support to Mozambique;

V.  whereas the European Union has pledged EUR 200 million in recovery support for Mozambique in the wake of the 2019 cyclones, followed by EUR 110 million in European Union COVID-19 support;

W.  whereas the SADC’s 2015 regional counter-terrorism strategy, which was developed in line with the UN global counter-terrorism strategy, provides for assistance in preventing youth radicalisation, border security, humanitarian aid and tackling the root causes of terrorism;

X.  whereas Mozambique currently holds the rotating presidency of the SADC; whereas during its 40th Summit on 17 August 2020, the regional organisation ‘commended the country for its continued efforts towards combating terrorism and violent attacks’ and ‘expressed SADC solidarity and commitment to support Mozambique in addressing the terrorism and violent attacks, and condemned all acts of terrorism and armed attacks’;

Y.  whereas in April 2020, both the EU Delegation in Mozambique and the Council raised serious concerns regarding the attacks in Cabo Delgado and the escalation of violence against civilians;

Z.  whereas in spite of its brutality and the horrible loss of life, the situation in Cabo Delgado failed to attract international attention, which meant that precious time to effectively tackle the issue at an earlier stage was lost;

1.  Declares its grave concern about the deteriorating security situation in northern Mozambique, in particular the Cabo Delgado Province, and expresses its condolences to the victims of the violence, who number over 1 500; expresses its solidarity and support to its people, especially to the more than 250 000 people who had to flee their homes;

2.  Underlines that the current security problems further aggravate an already extremely fragile humanitarian situation deriving from high levels of underdevelopment, climate shocks and conflicts;

3.  Calls on the Mozambican authorities to take effective and decisive action in countering the Islamist insurgence and to protect all citizens of Cabo Delgado; expresses serious concern that the insurgency is gaining increasing support among regional and international terrorist organisations; points, in this context, to the unfortunate similarities with other regions, such as the Sahel and Horn of Africa;

4.  Underlines that if not stopped, the insurgency will potentially grow and spill over into neighbouring countries, threatening regional stability; underlines, in this context, the need for an effective and sustainable policy by both the national government and regional and international actors;

5.  Reminds the Government of Mozambique of its responsibility to bring all those suspected of terrorist activity to justice through fair trials; calls on the Government of Mozambique to launch an independent and impartial investigation into torture and other grave violations allegedly committed by its security forces in Cabo Delgado; recalls that Mozambique is a party to the ICCPR, to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and to the UN Convention against Torture, which prohibit torture and other ill-treatment and arbitrary deprivation of life;

6.  Underlines the importance of protecting the rights of journalists, human rights defenders, activists and all those simply exercising their human rights and expressing their views on issues of public concern; calls on the Mozambican authorities to conduct an impartial investigation into all suspected cases of vandalism of news outlets, suppression of freedom of speech and accusations pertaining to the harassment and intimidation of journalists;

7.  Calls on the Mozambican authorities to ensure the promotion of democracy, human rights, effective local governance and the effective restoration of the rule of law in northern Mozambique; recalls that compliance with international humanitarian law and respect for democratic liberties are also crucial for the success of the definitive Peace Agreement signed in 2019 between the Mozambique Liberation Front (Frelimo) and the Mozambican National Resistance (Renamo);

8.  Underlines the importance of pursuing the necessary reforms in order to adequately respond to the needs of the Mozambican people, preventing them from being vulnerable targets of radicalisation; underlines in particular the urgent need to create jobs and opportunities for the people in Cabo Delgado, in particular young people; stresses further the need to work towards the elimination of some of the root causes of terrorism such as insecurity, poverty, human rights violations, inequality, exclusion, unemployment, environmental degradation, corruption and misuse of public funds, impunity, thereby contributing immensely to the eradication of terrorist organisations;

9.  Stresses the need to ensure that all military intervention in the region protects, respects and promotes human rights, encourages Mozambique’s authorities to support and work with regional and international organisations, as well as civil society organisations and community-based groups to introduce platforms for peace-building initiatives that encourage peaceful engagement, dialogue, reconciliation and co-existence among all the stakeholders; deplores the use of private security forces in this conflict, which further inflate the monetary cost to the country and operate without any international oversight;

10.  Notes with concern the deteriorating situation of internally displaced people (IDP) in Mozambique; calls for the EU and its Member States to work closely with the SADC and its member states to resolve the worsening humanitarian crisis in the region and to devise an effective plan of action;

11.  Calls on the Mozambican Government to openly cooperate with international institutions such as the UN Special Rapporteurs, and to allow independent human rights investigators and monitors into the country, and to correctly analyse the humanitarian needs of the population in Cabo Delgado in order to provide them with the necessary help; believes, furthermore, that the victims of violence must be protected by means of a relief plan in order for them to be able to continue with their lives;

12.  Believes that a more coordinated regional and international effort is needed in order to respond to the imminent security and humanitarian crises in Cabo Delgado, including the need to address cross-border threats such as terrorist insurgence, food security, IDP and smuggling; calls, therefore, on the European External Action Service (EEAS) to extend additional support to the SADC and the African Union (AU), in order to reach a long-lasting and peaceful solution;

13.  Points out that the SADC’s Organ for Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation (OPDS), with its multinational fighting unit for tackling serious counter-insurgency situations, should be an important active actor for managing this conflict and should condemn it in the short term, while encouraging and supporting the Mozambican authorities in the long term in implementing further reforms aimed at promoting democracy, human rights, and the rule of law, which represent a prerequisite for stability, peace and development;

14.  Reiterates that the EU is ready to engage in a dialogue with Mozambique to determine effective options for implementing EU assistance, taking into account the complex and regional character of the situation, and invites the Government of Mozambique to be more responsive in this dialogue and cooperation with the EU and with the SADC; encourages, in this regard, cooperation between the Mozambican authorities and all levels of civil society in an effort to find an inclusive solution and to urgently address the needs of the most vulnerable;

15.  Calls on the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (VP/HR), Josep Borrell, and the EU Member States to continue to closely follow the situation and to scale up their support to the national and regional authorities; welcomes, in this light, the Council Conclusions of 22 June 2020, but insists that further diplomatic action should be put in place, particularly from those Member States that share historical and friendly links with the country, in order to stress the need for urgent action on this issue with its regional security and humanitarian dimensions and draw the government’s attention to the geopolitical consequences that will result from the lack of a coordinated regional and international response;

16.  Expresses its hope that the EU’s new Africa Strategy, once effectively in place, will help intensify EU-Africa cooperation based on a partnership of equals throughout the continent, and that both will work together towards improving the economic, social, security and human rights situation in countries such as Mozambique;

17.  Considers that the current developments in Mozambique and its social and economic consequences will be duly addressed in the EU’s policy towards Africa in the next multiannual financial framework (MFF) 2021; underlines that, when it is often devastated by floods and other natural disasters, the population of Mozambique should receive all available support and humanitarian aid;

18.  Believes that the upcoming EU Africa Summit is as an excellent opportunity to better address the issue of this humanitarian tragedy and for the EU to scale up its support to regional and continental organisations;

19.  Recalls the international aid commitments made the International Donors Pledging Conference held in Beira, on 30 May and 1 June 2019, at which the European Union pledged EUR 200 million in recovery support; calls for the EU and its Member States to deliver on these commitments in full; points out that long-term recovery can only be achieved through sustainable and inclusive economic development; calls, therefore, for EU assistance to support Mozambique’s efforts to stabilise its economy, create jobs and foster rural competitiveness, while ensuring inclusiveness and preservation of the environment;

20.  Welcomes the IMF CCRT as a step in the right direction in assisting Mozambique in combating the economic fallout from COVID-19; calls for the EU and its Member States to provide further donations to the IMF, and for the IMF to explore further alternatives to boost the resources available to the CCRT, such as using its own existing reserves; recalls that contributions to the fund must in no way function as a substitute for official development assistance (ODA);

21.  Considers it of the utmost importance that the local population, in particular in the poorest provinces of the country, benefit from the exploitation of their natural resources; calls on the government to fairly allocate incomes from exploitation projects to local development projects while respecting high environmental and social standards;

22.  Recalls that the people of Mozambique, both of the Christian and the Muslim faiths, have been living in peaceful coexistence for a long time, and expresses its conviction that this model of tolerance and solidarity will prevail despite the attacks by Islamist terrorists;

23.  Stresses the need to prioritise education and foster rural development to tackle radicalisation, in particular among young people in rural areas;

24.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the Government and Parliament of Mozambique, and to the members and leadership of the South African Development Community and the African Union.


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