Woman human rights defender Fátima Mimbire has been receiving intimidating messages on social media from unknown people since 18 January. These threats began after she took up an active role in the Center for Public Integrity’s (CIP) campaign against the Mozambique government seeking to repay loans it acquired illegally and secretly. There has also been a smear campaign aimed at Fátima on social media in an attempt to further intimidate her and delegitimize her work.
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Filipe Jacinto Nyusi
President of the Republic of Mozambique
Avenida Julius Nyerere, PABX 2000
Maputo – Mozambique
H.E. Carlos Dos Santos
Embassy of the Republic of Mozambique
1525 New Hampshire Avenue NW, Washington DC 20036
Phone: 202 293 7146 I Fax: 202 835 0245
Email: [email protected]
Salutation: Dear Ambassador
Your Excellency Filipe Jacinto Nyusi,
On 18 January, woman human rights defender Fátima Mimbire began to receive intimidating messages and death threats on social media. The attacks began on the same day the Center for Public Integrity (CIP) launched a campaign denouncing a move by the Mozambican government seeking to repay loans it secretly acquired to set up three state-owned companies: Proindicus, Ematum (Mozambique Tuna Company) and Mozambique Asset Management. Fátima works at CIP and has actively been involved in the campaign. There has also been a smear campaign on social media platforms such as Facebook and WhatsApp to delegitimize her and her work. One of the Facebook’s post said “CIP is instigating and promoting tension between the State and the Mozambican society. Take care of Fatima Mimbire.” Another Facebook user said, “Fatima Mimbire should feel shame of your attitude. She is sexually used by American and Portuguese people to earn money and still shows on social media to destabilize the country. Why don’t you take care of your family that needs you? You should enjoy your life while you still alive”.
CIP has been distributing T-shirts to the public brandishing the message “I won’t pay for hidden debts”. From 21 to 24 January, the Police of the Republic of Mozambique (PRM) surrounded CIP’s office in Maputo and ordered people to remove the T-shirts which they then confiscated. They also ordered CIP to stop distributing the T-shirts. Amnesty International is concerned that the online intimidation and smear campaign against Fátima Mimbire is solely because of her work as a woman human rights defender and the peaceful exercise of her right to freedom of expression.
I call on you to ensure the authorities promptly investigate in an independent and impartial manner the threats and intimidation against Fátima Mimbire; to ensure that Fátima Mimbire and other CIP employees are provided with adequate protection, in accordance to their wishes, so that they can continue their work freely without fear of reprisals; to ensure that the right to freedom of expression is respected and protected in Mozambique.