Photos from March protest by NGOs in Mozambique – Courtesy of Lambda Mozambique

Mozambique: Protect women & girls— reject discrimination in new Penal Code

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14 May 2014

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In June, Mozambique is set to enact a new penal code that could foster a culture of violence and discrimination if passed as written. While progressive revisions have been made in the proposed draft (Penal Code Review Bill) which was preliminarily approved by Parliament in December 2013, damaging provisions that would jeopardize the safety and rights of women and girls remain, including:

  • vague and limited definitions of rape, which could make it easier for rapists to escape prosecution and fails to protect women from marital rape (Article 217)
  • allowing relatives of criminals to escape prosecution for hindering an investigation or evidence tampering, worsening impunity for crimes of sexual violence (Article 24)
  • defining the rape of a minor as the rape of someone under the age of 12, which directly contradicts laws in Mozambique that define a child as anyone below the age of 18 (Article 218)

TAKE ACTION NOW! << Click on this link to send all letters below online.

Furthermore, Equality Now and our partners are concerned that a provision from an earlier draft of the legislation, which would allow a rapist to escape punishment by marrying his victim (former Article 223), might be re-introduced into the current draft before the vote.

The vote is mere weeks away. Please Take Action today!

If this legislation is approved without rectifying these harmful discriminatory provisions, the ramifications for women and girls would be extremely harmful, signaling that rape and sexual violence are less serious crimes, if crimes at all, and will not be prosecuted vigorously. Such laws would also violate Mozambique’s Constitution—which guarantees equal rights before the law—and other regional and international human rights instruments that Mozambique has ratified, including the Protocol on the Rights of Women in Africa (the Maputo Protocol).

With the vote this close, we need your help! Please stand with Equality Now, our partners in the Solidarity for African Women's Rights (SOAWR) coalition, along with WLSA Mozambique, Fórum Mulher and other Mozambican NGOs in calling on Mozambique’s Parliament to ensure that all positive changes already made will be approved, and that all provisions that jeopardize the rights and safety of women and girls are removed before the revision to the Penal Code are adopted.

What You Can Do: 

TAKE ACTION NOW! << Click on this link to send all letters below online.

Join us in urgently calling on the authorities below to demand that:

  • they reject the damaging and discriminatory provisions in the draft Penal Code, and ensure that the exemption for rapists is not re-introduced into the legislation;
  • Mozambique lives up to its domestic, regional and international obligations to protect, enforce, and uphold the fundamental rights of women and girls.

Dra. Verónica Nataniel Macamo Dlhovo
President, Assembleia da República
Palácio do Quarto Congresso
Avenida 24 de Julho
Maputo, Moçambique
Fax: +25821400711011;
 +258 21225179

Dr. Teodoro Andrade Waty
Committee on Legal Affairs Human Rights & Legality of Parliament
Palácio do Quarto Congresso
Avenida 24 de Julho
Maputo, Moçambique
Fax: +25821400711;
+258 21408846

Maria Benvinda Delfina Levi
Minister of Justice
Ministry of Justice
Av. Julius Nyerere 33
Maputo, Moçambique
Fax: +25821494264

Dr. Orlando da Graça
Secretary General,
Constitutional Council
Matthew Samson Street Muthemba, 493
P.O. Box 2372
Maputo, Moçambique
Fax: +25821487432

Graça Machel (see 2nd sample letter below)
Former First Lady of Mozambique & South Africa
President of Fundação
para o Desenvolvimento da Comunidade (FDC)
Av. 25 de Setembro, Edifícios Times Square Bloco 2 - 3º andar
Maputo, Moçambique