The serious and ongoing deterioration in the security and humanitarian situation in Cabo Delgado in northern Mozambique, where a violent insurgency has been underway since 2017, is of grave concern.
Ireland is closely monitoring the situation through our Embassy in Mozambique, from where we are providing significant humanitarian assistance to those impacted by violence, including up to 300,000 people now displaced from their homes.
Recent reports of human rights abuses are also of serious concern. Through our Embassy in Mozambique, Ireland, together with the EU and Member States, engages in regular dialogue with the Government of Mozambique, which includes a priority focus on human rights issues. Last month Ireland participated in a formal dialogue between the EU and the Government of Mozambique, where the EU side called on the Government to investigate all allegations of human rights abuses, including those perpetrated by State security forces, and to ensure that the perpetrators are brought to justice. During this dialogue, the EU and Member States also stressed the importance of freedom of the press and the need to ensure that the people of Mozambique have access to accurate media coverage of the ongoing conflict. A further structured dialogue is scheduled for later this month, where updates on the Mozambican Government’s progress in investigating alleged human rights abuses will be sought.
As part of the Irish Aid response to the situation in Cabo Delgado, the Irish Embassy team in Maputo is working with partners and experts to ensure that the Mozambican military and police forces integrate International Humanitarian Law (IHL) norms and standards in their training and operations, as well as longer-term actions to support the revision and updating of IHL training for the military.
Minister Coveney last discussed the situation in Mozambique at the EU Foreign Affairs Council in April, when Council Conclusions were adopted, which urged authorities to protect citizens, carry out investigations, and identify the role of terrorist organisations and potential international links. The EU also called for an integrated and coordinated approach, promoting democracy, human rights, effective local governance, restoring the rule of law and addressing the socioeconomic conditions that foster instability and violent extremism. Since then, the situation has been kept under close review at both official and political level. In September 2020, the European Parliament adopted a Resolution on the humanitarian situation in Mozambique, again calling on the Government of Mozambique to investigate alleged cases of human rights abuses and to protect citizens and ensure that military interventions protect human rights and IHL. Ireland fully supports the EU position that the worsening security and humanitarian situation in Cabo Delgado requires an integrated and coordinated response.
The protection and promotion of human rights and international humanitarian law are core pillars of Ireland's foreign policy, and those responsible for violations and abuses must be held accountable. Ireland will continue to closely monitor and assess the situation as it develops in Cabo Delgado, and will engage with the Government of Mozambique both directly and through multilateral fora.