Rape and Domestic Violence: The law criminalizes rape, including spousal rape, and domestic violence. Penalties for conviction range from two to eight years’ imprisonment if the victim is age 12 or older and 20 to 24 years’ imprisonment if the victim is under age 12.
Conviction of abuse of a spouse or unmarried partner is punishable by one to two years’ imprisonment or longer if another crime is also applicable. The government did not effectively enforce domestic abuse law. NGOs reported domestic violence against women remained widespread. For example, more than 20,000 cases of domestic violence were reported during the year; however, civil society members believed the number of victims to be much higher.
According to NGO and media reports, many families preferred to settle rape allegations through informal community courts or privately through financial remuneration rather than through the formal judicial system.
Government agencies and NGOs implemented public outreach campaigns to combat violence against women nationwide. Police and NGOs worked together to combat domestic violence. The PRM operated special women and children’s units within police precincts that received high numbers of cases of domestic violence, sexual assault, and violence against children.
Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C): FGM/C existed in the country, but NGOs and the government concurred that the incidence was low. Reliable estimates were lacking on the number of girls and women subjected to FGM/C in recent years. For additional information, see Appendix C.
Other Harmful Traditional Practices: The practice of “purification,” whereby a widow is obligated to have unprotected sex with a member of her deceased husband’s family, occurred, particularly in rural areas, despite campaigns against it.
Sexual Harassment: Sexual harassment remained pervasive in business, government, schools, and broadly in society. There is no legislation on sexual harassment in public places outside of schools. By law a teacher who abuses or sexually harasses a student through orders, threats, or coercion may be fined up to 20 times the teacher’s monthly salary.
Coercion in Population Control: There were no reports of coerced abortion or involuntary sterilization.
Discrimination: The law provides the same legal status and rights for women as for men; however, the government did not enforce the law effectively. The law does not specifically require equal pay for equal work, nor does it prohibit discrimination based on gender in hiring. The law contains provisions that limit excessive physical work or night shift requirements during pregnancy. The law contains special provisions to protect women against abuse; however, these provisions were rarely enforced.
Women experienced economic discrimination. Gaps in education and income between men and women remained high. In some regions, particularly the Northern provinces, women had limited access to the formal judicial system for enforcement of rights provided by the civil code and instead relied on customary law to settle disputes. Enforcement of laws that protect women’s rights to land ownership in the formal economy remained poor. Women typically could not inherit land under customary law.
The parliament had a women’s caucus, composed of members from the three parties with parliamentary seats that sought to address issues of gender balance, women’s representation in decision-making bodies, and advocacy of women’s rights.
Birth Registration: Citizenship is obtained by birth within the country or birth to at least one Mozambican citizen parent outside the country. Failure to register a child’s birth may result in the inability to attend school and may prevent one from obtaining public documents, such as identity cards, passports, or “poverty certificates” that enable access to free health care and free secondary education. Birth registration was often delayed in rural areas. Cultural practice prevented a woman, especially in rural areas, from exercising her legal right to register her child without the presence of the child’s father.
Education: Tuition-free education is compulsory through primary school (grades one to seven). School costs for supplies and uniforms remained beyond the means of many families, especially in rural areas. According to the Millennium Development Goals Report, only 52 percent of children complete primary school education.
Child Abuse: Most child-abuse cases involved sexual or physical abuse. Sexual abuse in schools and in homes was a problem. NGOs remained concerned that certain male teachers used their authority to coerce female students into sex. Orphans and other vulnerable children remained at high risk of abuse.
While the government stressed the importance of children’s rights and welfare, significant problems remained; the government had yet to implement any programs to combat child abuse. The Child Protection Law provides for protection against physical and sexual abuse; removal from parents who are unable to protect, assist, and educate them; and juvenile courts to deal with matters of adoption, maintenance, and regulating parental power. Juvenile courts have wide discretion with regard to sentencing, but the law requires a minimum of 16-20 years’ imprisonment for conviction of trafficking in persons.
Early and Forced Marriage: By law the minimum age of marriage for both genders is 18. Legal permission to marry at age 16 may be granted with parental consent. For additional information, see Appendix C.
Sexual Exploitation of Children: The minimum age for consensual sex is 16 for boys and girls. The law prohibits the commercial sexual exploitation of children and child pornography. Authorities partially enforced the law, but exploitation of children and child prostitution remained a problem. Girls were exploited in prostitution in bars, roadside clubs, and restaurants. Child prostitution appeared to be most prevalent in Maputo, Nampula, Beira, border towns, and at overnight stopping points along key transportation routes. Some NGOs provided health care, counseling, and vocational training to children, primarily girls, engaged in prostitution.
Displaced Children: Children from Zimbabwe, Malawi, and Eswatini, many of whom entered the country alone, remained vulnerable to labor exploitation and discrimination. They lacked protection and had limited access to schools and other social welfare institutions, largely due to lack of resources. Coercion, both physical and economic, of girls into the sex industry was common, particularly in Manica Province.
Several government agencies, including the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Gender, Children, and Social Action, conducted programs to provide health-care assistance and vocational education for HIV/AIDS orphans and other vulnerable children.
International Child Abductions: The country is not a party to the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. See the Department of State’s Annual Report on International Parental Child Abduction at https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/International-Parental-Child-Abduction/for-providers/legal-reports-and-data.html.
The country has a very small Jewish community. There were no reports of anti-Semitic acts.
Trafficking in Persons
See the Department of State’s Trafficking in Persons Report at www.state.gov/j/tip/rls/tiprpt/.
Persons with Disabilities
The constitution and law prohibit discrimination against citizens with disabilities; however, the law does not differentiate among physical, sensory, intellectual, and mental disabilities in employment, education, transportation, access to health care, the judicial system, or the provision of other state services.
The Ministry of Gender, Children, and Social Action is responsible for protecting the rights of persons with disabilities. The 2012-19 National Action Plan in the Area of Disabilities provides for funding, monitoring, and assessment of implementation by various organizations that support persons with disabilities. Electoral law provides for access and assistance to voters with disabilities in the polling booths, including the right for them to vote first.
The city of Maputo offered free bus passes to persons with disabilities. Buses in Maputo did not have specific accessibility features.
The government did not effectively implement laws and programs to provide access to buildings, information, and communications. Discrimination in private-sector and government employment, education, access to health care, and the provision of other services was common. Observers often cited unequal access to employment as one of the biggest problems. The government did not effectively implement programs to provide access to information and communication for persons with disabilities. Educational opportunities for children with disabilities were generally poor, especially for those with developmental disabilities. Children with disabilities attended school through secondary education at a significantly lower rate than other children. The government sometimes referred parents of children with disabilities to private schools with more resources to provide for their children. The Mozambican Association for the Disabled (ADEMO) reported teacher-training programs did not address the needs of students with disabilities. ADEMO also stated school buildings fell short of international standards for accessibility, and public tenders did not include provisions for the accessibility of persons with disabilities.
Doctors reported many families abandoned family members with disabilities at the country’s only psychiatric hospital. ADEMO reported access to equipment, such as wheelchairs, was a challenge due to lengthy and complicated bureaucratic procedures.
Acts of Violence, Discrimination, and Other Abuses Based on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity
Antidiscrimination laws protected LGBTI persons only from employment discrimination. No hate-crime laws or other criminal justice mechanisms exist to aid in the prosecution of bias-motivated crimes against LGBTI persons. Since 2008, the government has failed to take action on LAMBDA’s request to register legally.
There were no media or other reports of bias-motivated attacks on LGBTI persons; however, discrimination in public medical facilities was reported. Medical staff sometimes chastised LGBTI individuals for their LGBTI status when the latter sought treatment. Intimidation was not a factor in preventing incidents of abuse from being reported.
There were reports of societal discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
HIV and AIDS Social Stigma
Reports continued of many women expelled from their homes and abandoned by their husbands and relatives because they were HIV-positive. Family or community members accused some women widowed by HIV/AIDS of being witches who purposely killed their husbands to acquire belongings; as retribution, they deprived the women of all possessions.
Other Societal Violence or Discrimination
The government denounced violence against persons with albinism. Courts tended to sentence those convicted of the murder and kidnapping of persons with albinism more harshly than those convicted of similar crimes that did not involve persons with albinism.
Albimoz and Amor a Vida, local NGOs that advocated for persons with albinism, documented cases in which assailants kidnapped, maimed, or killed persons with albinism. Criminals attacked them, often with the assistance of a family member, because certain traditional healers, purportedly from outside the country, according to government officials, paid for their body parts due to their allegedly “magical” properties.