The following information reports U.S. Government priorities and activities in Mozambique to promote democracy and human rights. For background on Mozambique's human rights conditions, please see the 2009 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices
and the International Religious Freedom Reports
Part 1: U.S. Government Democracy Objectives
The U.S. Government's top priority in Mozambique is strengthening democratic governance. Weak governance threatens its stability, regional influence and future. Mozambique must put in place checks and balances to prevent the abuse of power and to strengthen pluralism in order to ensure a dynamic debate about policies and development options. The United States dedicates significant resources to strengthening democracy and governance and supports improvements in national institutions. More specifically, U.S. programming continues to focus on supporting electoral reforms, reducing corruption, professionalizing the police and border security forces, nurturing emerging leaders, improving the status of women, and strengthening the media and civil society.
Supporting Top Priorities and Other Aspects of Human Rights and Democratic Governance
To strengthen democracy and good governance, the United States Government continues to emphasize anticorruption programs including activities with government, civil society and media. Programs enabling GRM officials, civil society leaders and journalists to meet their counterparts in the United States have proven especially successful in developing long-term partnerships to encourage sustained democracy in Mozambique. In February 2010, the United States sent law enforcement advisors to consult with the Office of the Attorney General, the Central Bank, Customs officials and others involved in the criminal justice process. This allowed the United States to take a fresh look at Mozambique's needs for training and assistance programs in the areas of criminal justice, border security, and quicker promulgation of regulations for new legislation. The U.S. official sent to provide information to the Central Office to Combat Corruption (GCCC) in the Office of the Attorney General expects to continue training programs in the GCCC. The group's visit evaluated the progress of the criminal justice assistance program and provided recommendations regarding the development of greater capabilities to investigate complex crimes; amending the law to include all corruption-related crimes (only an estimated 20 percent may currently be prosecuted under the law); encouraging the inclusion of more modern investigation techniques; and working to ensure that the GCCC is not only allowed to investigate, but also to charge and prosecute corruption crimes. Separately, the United States worked to improve the performance of the GCCC by providing funding to train prosecutors. In addition, U.S. assistance allowed a member of parliament, an official from the Interior Ministry, and a provincial governor to travel to the United States and participate in programs related to good governance, accountability, and democracy.
U.S. officials continue to meet with local NGOs that monitor media freedom, prison conditions, allegations of torture, allegations of summary executions, and other human rights abuses. A particularly successful partnership with one NGO combating violence against women, unlawful killings, torture, and harsh prison conditions resulted in an increased observance of human rights by GRM officials, including law enforcement and prison authorities, and in a significant increase in public awareness of the state of human rights in Mozambique. The United States provides support to radio and print organizations to enhance media independence by sending U.S. experts to Mozambique and funding travel for qualified Mozambicans to train in the United States. Past U.S. visitors include an experienced media practitioner and consultant to train local investigative journalists in the cities of Maputo, Beira, and Nampula. During the current fiscal year the United States expects Mozambicans will benefit from U.S. training designed to strengthen civil society by acquiring expertise in media technology and to sharpen broadcast and investigative journalistic skills.
The U.S. Government discusses religious freedom with the government as part of its overall policy to promote human rights. The United States also conducts activities to promote religious freedom and tolerance, particularly with respect to the Muslim community, including direct video conferences with leading international Muslim leaders and programs designed to highlight President Obama's Cairo Initiative.
The United States supports the strengthening of democratic processes and rule of law. In the period prior to Mozambique's October 2009 presidential, provincial and legislative elections, U.S. funding enabled a local network to broadcast a series of unprecedented debates in multiple cities across the country. The United States provided the largest contingent of foreign electoral observers to monitor the October 2009 triple elections. U.S. officials meet regularly with opposition and civil society groups to review human rights and democratic processes. The United States supports professionalization of police and border security personnel through training courses.
The United States works to oppose trafficking in persons, child labor, and the abuse of orphans and vulnerable children by deploying targeted financial and health care assistance. The United States continues to work with a childrens' rights NGO to promote a nationwide child safety hotline for abused children and to combat trafficking in persons. The United States also supports the country's only shelter for victims of trafficking. Through U.S. funding, a private media group was able to produce a highly popular soap opera dealing with health issues, including the stigma of HIV/AIDS. The United States has, for more than 25 years, supported a broad range of health programs designed to help improve the rights of women, as well as orphans and vulnerable children.