Mozambique celebrated Human Rights DayDec 10, 2013
Mozambique celebrated Human Rights Day, December 10, 2013, with a well-attended march and public rally in an open public space known as the peace square. For the first time in country’s history, the celebrations were jointly attended and addressed by the Justice Minister, the Ombudsman, the Chairperson of the Human Rights Commission, the UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative, the Swedish Ambassador and the Chairperson of the Human Rights league.
This was a biffing example for this year’s theme: “The Government and partners working together for human rights”.
Addressing the rally, Justice Minister, Benvinda Levy, affirmed that the country has made considerable progress in safeguarding the observance of Human Rights. At the same time, she acknowledged that there is still much more to be done to overcome the challenges that prevent citizens from enjoying their rights fully.
The Minister noted for the example that the Government of Mozambique ratified in January 2013 the Optional Protocol to the UN Convention Against Torture (OPCAT) agreeing to international inspections of places of detention by the United Nations Subcommittee on the Prevention of Torture.
Speaking at the same event, Mozambique Justice Ombudsman, Jose Abudo, said that the Government has a pivotal responsibility in human rights protection. He was happy to note that the Government agreement in adopting various international human rights protection instruments it is a demonstration of its political will and commitment towards human rights. He lamented the political and military tension in the country as a situation that could hinder citizens from enjoying their rights.
Mozambique Human Rights Commission Chairperson, Custodio Duma said that there is a need to uphold human dignity and fight against all forms of prejudice, discrimination and violence.
This view was seconded by Alice Mabota, the Chairperson of the Mozambique Human Rights League, a local NGO that tirelessly works for human rights protection. Condemning the deaths and destruction of property caused by the political and military crisis, Ms Abota called on citizens to pray and work for peace to that everyone could go about life in normalcy.
Speaking on behalf of the UN System in Mozambique, the Resident Coordinator, Jennifer Topping, called on all to continue working together so that every child, woman and man in this country could have their rights fully upheld and protected.
The Swedish Amabssodor was also in attendance and at the podium. The ceremony started with a minute of silence in honor and memory of South African long term human rights activist and former President, Nelson Mandela who died on December 5, 2013.