Torture in  [Mozambique]  [other countries]
Human Trafficking in  [Mozambique]  [other countries]
Street Children in  [Mozambique]  [other countries]
Child Prostitution in  [Mozambique]  [other countries]

Torture by Police, Forced Disappearance

& Other Ill Treatment

In the early years of the 21st Century                                                        

Republic of Mozambique

At independence in 1975, Mozambique was one of the world's poorest countries. Socialist mismanagement and a brutal civil war from 1977-92 exacerbated the situation.

Mozambique remains dependent upon foreign assistance for much of its annual budget, and the majority of the population remains below the poverty line. Subsistence agriculture continues to employ the vast majority of the country's work force. A substantial trade imbalance persists although the opening of the Mozal aluminum smelter, the country's largest foreign investment project to date, has increased export earnings.  [The World Factbook, U.S.C.I.A. 2009]

Description: Description: Mozambique

CAUTION:  The following links have been culled from the web to illuminate the situation in Mozambique.  Some of these links may lead to websites that present allegations that are unsubstantiated or even false.  No attempt has been made to validate their authenticity or to verify their content.

*** ARCHIVES ***

The state of the world's human rights

Amnesty International AI, Annual Report 2012

[accessed 3 Feb 2014]


Scores of people, mainly elderly, were killed after being accused of witchcraft. The highest reported incidence of such killings occurred in the southern province of Inhambane where at least 20 elderly people were killed between August and September.


There were continued reports of torture and other ill-treatment of prisoners, including after attempted escapes.

On 24 September, two prisoners died from their injuries at the Quinta do Girassol detention centre in Zambezia province after being beaten by a prison guard with sticks, stones and bricks. The prisoners had apparently been recaptured while trying to escape.

Policing and Human Rights -- Assessing southern African countries’ compliance with the SARPCCO Code of Conduct for Police Officials

Edited by Amanda Dissel & Cheryl Frank, African Policing Civilian Oversight Forum APCOF, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-920489-81-6

[accessed 25 March 2014]


No police official shall, under any circumstances, inflict, instigate, or tolerate any act of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment of any person.

Despite some legal safeguards against the use of torture and ill-treatment, international and domestic observers note that there are numerous and credible reports of police torture, including torture and ill-treatment that caused the death of a few detainees, without appropriate accountability measures being taken against the police responsible.

There are concerns that responses by the criminal justice system to allegations of torture have been inadequate. During its UPR process, the government received a number of recommendations to ensure that thorough, prompt and impartial investigations are carried out in all cases of torture and other ill treatment, and that perpetrators are brought to justice.

Equally, there are concerns that torture victims seldom receive civil law remedies. According to civil society organisations, over the past ten years only two out of 50 cases of compensation for torture and other ill-treatment have resulted in compensation.

Human Rights Reports » 2004 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, February 28, 2005

[accessed 6 February 2013]

TORTURE AND OTHER CRUEL, INHUMAN, OR DEGRADING TREATMENT OR PUNISHMENT – The Constitution expressly prohibits such practices; however, police continued to commit serious abuses, and torture, beatings, death threats, physical and mental abuse, and extortion remained problems. During the year, human rights advocates reported complaints of torture, including several instances involving the sexual abuse of women, beating, illegal detention, and death threats.

Freedom House Country Report - Political Rights: 3   Civil Liberties: 3   Status: Partly Free

2009 Edition

[accessed 6 February 2013]

The judicial system has improved since the end of one-party rule in 1994, but judicial independence is still elusive. Corruption continues to be endemic in the judicial system, and the country faces a dire shortage of judges. Former justice minister, Esperanca Machavela, before being dismissed by Guebuza in March 2008, streamlined judicial operations that had previously been divided between the justice and interior ministries. She managed to reduce the backlog of cases, speeding up trial and sentencing procedures and significantly reducing the number of individuals held improperly in pretrial detention. An independent 2008 study conducted by the country’s preeminent human rights organization, the Mozambican Human Rights League, found that the number of suspects who remained in prison illegally past their preventive detention deadline (usually a maximum of 48 hours for most crimes) had dropped from 219 in 2007 to just 4 in 2008 in the south of the country. Improvements, though less dramatic, were also seen in the north and central regions where the numbers of suspects in illegal pretrial detention fell from 119 to 40 and from 61 to 15, respectively. The study also found that while the treatment of inmates had improved and there was no evidence of torture in prisons, living conditions are still abysmal and most cells are overcrowded.

Human rights abuses by security forces—including extrajudicial killings, torture of suspects, and arbitrary detention—remain serious problems despite pay increases and human rights training. Public dissatisfaction with the police has led to a rise in vigilante groups. A 2007 Amnesty International study found that there had been an increase in the number of extrajudicial killings of suspected criminals by police, and that few of the cases were ever investigated or followed up with prosecution of accused officers. Nonetheless, the lack of torture in prisons—a result of an improvement in prison-guard training—serves as a potential model for similar improvements among the police.

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Cite this webpage as: Patt, Prof. Martin, "Torture by Police, Forced Disappearance & Other Ill Treatment in the early years of the 21st Century- Mozambique",, [accessed <date>]



Torture in  [Mozambique]  [other countries]
Human Trafficking in  [Mozambique]  [other countries]
Street Children in  [Mozambique]  [other countries]
Child Prostitution in  [Mozambique]  [other countries]