The conduct of the Mozambican police has resulted in human rights abuses that violate Mozambique’s constitutional protections of fundamental rights and freedoms. These include deaths in detention and extrajudicial executions of suspected criminals, as well as excessive use of force and firearms. Existing internal police accountability systems are largely ineffective, with very little follow-up to cases of human rights violations by police. Police codes of conduct and disciplinary procedures are inadequate and do not conform to international human rights standards. Limited access to justice by victims and their families is compounded by a weak and often corrupt justice system and other obstacles.
Mozambique's independence from Portugal in 1975 was followed by nearly two decades of civil war until peace was achieved in 1992. After 18 years in power, President Joaquim Chissano of the Frelimo party stepped down and voters elected a new president, Armando Guebuza, in December 2004. Guebuza was re-elected with 75% of the vote in 2009.
Mozambique is making progress in reducing mortality rates and improving access to primary health care services. The resettlement of civil war refugees, political stability, and continuing economic reforms have led to economic growth. However, price increases in fuel, water, electricity, and bread prompted citizens to riot in cities throughout the country in September 2010. The government implemented subsidies as well as decreased taxes and tariffs to attempt to contain the cost of living.
Despite positive changes in the country, at least 46 people were unlawfully killed by the police in Mozambique between January 2006 and the end of 2009 . Police have also used excessive force in public order management. Some of these incidents resulted in death. For example, during the riots in September 2010, police used live ammunition to disperse crowds protesting the rising price of commodities in the country. According to media reports, at least 10 people were killed over several days during clashes with police.
Amnesty International is concerned about the continuing cases of human rights violations by the police in Mozambique and the impunity the police appear to enjoy. This is evidenced by inadequate investigations by the police, obstructive and intimidating behavior by the police towards the victims' families, and lack of transparency into the progress of investigations and actions against police officers.
Amnesty International calls on the Mozambican authorities to ensure that there are thorough, prompt and impartial investigations into all cases of use of force by the police resulting in death; that officers responsible for these unlawful killings are brought to justice in fair trials and that the families of those killed receive adequate reparation. We also urge that the Mozambican authorities take steps to prevent excessive use of force by ensuring that police have access to alternative means to deal with potentially violent situations and that police are trained in techniques to lower tensions.