Mozambique strengthens its justice sector to deal with Gender Based Violence

October 31, 2019

Participants representing various justice sector institutions and UNDP during the capacity development seminar on GBV

As part of Mozambique’s effort to deal with gender-based violence (GBV), Mozambique Justice Ministry, the High Court and the Constitutional Court with support from UNDP Mozambique, hosted a justice sector seminar to debate GBV. The seminar also aimed at repositioning the justice sector institutions in setting up and strengthen their departments that deal with GBV.

The seminar, held in Maputo in mid-October 2019, brought together over 80 participants to consider ways in which their respective institutions can better implement the National Plan for the Prevention and Response of Gender Based Violence.

This is a part of the  “Spotlight Initiative”, a global program to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls, funded by the European Union and the United Nations, and contributing to the achievement of the Sustainable Development 15 (Gender Equality) and 16 (Peace, Justice and Effective Institutions) in Mozambique.

In Mozambique, the “Spotlight Initiative” was launched in March 2019, and is implemented under the Government leadership, involving a Multi-sectoral Gender-based Violence Response Mechanism, namely the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Action (MGCAS), the Health Ministry (MISAU), Justice the Ministry, the Constitutional and Religious Affairs (MJCR) and the Interior Ministry (MINT).

Using experts do speak on relevant topics, participants were exposed to the situation of GBV in Mozambique, the cultural norms that encourage GBV and its dynamics in society, that hinder victims from speaking out and refrain from reporting perpetrators, particularly in the social constructs of male domination and heads of households, upon whom the other family members depend upon for survival.

In this approach, the concepts of violence, domestic violence, gender-based violence, violence against women were also highlighted. The concepts of various types of violence such as physical, sexual, psychological, patrimonial, moral and social were also discussed, with examples of the places where violence occurs, including the family environment, community, workplace or school.

Participants also learnt about the instruments available to deal with GBV. Main Treaties and National Instruments of Human Rights and Gender Equality and Gender-Based Violence. These include International Instruments such as the  Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW-1993); Beijing Declaration (1995); Universal Declaration of Human Rights; SADC Gender Declaration (1997); the Solemn Declaration of Gender in Africa (2004); Optional Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights relating to Women (2005).

It also included national instruments such as  Mozambique Constitution;  Gender Policy and Implementation Strategy;  National Plan of Action for the Advancement of Women; the  Government Five Year Plan;  Civil Service Gender Strategy; Sectoral Strategies for the Promotion of gender equality in (Education, Health, Home Affairs, Energy, Agriculture; Employment and Professional Training), and  National Legislation.

Thus, the seminar equipped the central and local level Justice Administration Focal Points with GBV to better disseminate the main instruments guiding the GBV response (Gender Policy and Implementation Strategy, National Plans for the Advancement of Women, Gender-based Violence Prevention and others); disseminate the Spotlight Initiative to key stakeholders.

It is expected that the trained official will contribute to increase awareness of civil society partners who have been working towards gender non-violence in the country: Human Rights League, Women's Forum, Mozambican Women's Organization (WMO), Women's Legal Career Association; Women, Law and Development (MULEIDE), WLSA, among others, as well as strengthen practitioners' knowledge of Gender-based Violence Prevention and Response interventions in HIV and AIDS contexts; of peace and security; Emergency, Reconstruction and Post Conflict.

This should ultimately lead to increased knowledge about multisectoral cooperation mechanisms, namely with the Family and Minors Assistance Offices; Centres to Assist and Integrate Domestic Violence Victim, services that provide recognized official support for the monitoring and reception of victims of domestic violence.