According to Article 40(1) of the 2004 Constitution of Mozambique (as amended):
All citizens shall have the right to life and to physical and moral integrity, and they shall not be subjected to torture or to cruel or inhuman treatment.
Article 43 provides that the "constitutional principles in respect of fundamental rights shall be interpreted and integrated in harmony with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and with the African Charter of Human and Peoples Rights".
Article 51 provides that: "All citizens shall have the right to freedom of assembly and demonstration, within the terms of the law."
Chapter II of Title XII of the Constitution addresses the police. Article 254(1) determines that the function of the Police,
in collaboration with other State institutions, shall be to guarantee law and order, to safeguard the security of persons and property, to keep public peace and to ensure respect for the democratic rule of law and the strict observance of the fundamental rights and freedoms of citizens.
Article 254(3) provides that:
In the exercise of its functions, the Police shall owe obedience to the law and shall serve citizens and public and private institutions with impartiality and independence.
|1966 Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR)||State Party|
|ICCPR Optional Protocol 1||Not party|
|1984 Convention against Torture (CAT)||State Party|
|Competence of CAT Committee to receive individual complaints||No|
|CAT Optional Protocol 1||State Party|
|1998 Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court||Signatory|
|1981 African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights||State Party|
|1998 Protocol to the African Charter on the African Court||State Party|
|Article 34(6) declaration regarding individual petitions||No|
|Malabo Protocol on Amendments to the African Court of Justice and Human Rights||Not party|
Police Use of Force
The Police of the Republic of Mozambique (PRM) was created by Law nº 19/92 of 31 December 1992 as a paramilitary force under the Ministry of the Interior. In Mozambique, the rules on police use of force are set out in the 1999 Police Statute and Disciplinary Regulation. Under the Police Statute, the police are required to act with the strictest respect for the Constitution and laws of the country. This includes the human rights provisions contained in the Constitution.
Article 33 of Law 16/2013 requires that the police use only necessary and proportionate force to overcome illegitimate resistance to police officers. The Police Statute provides that a police officer
may only use force and firearms in situations where there is a reasonably serious risk to the officer’s life or physical integrity, or those of third persons, or in circumstances in which it may be supposed that there is a serious risk to public security, and in conformity with the principles [of opportunity, appropriateness and proportionality].
This is more permissive than international law allows, which restricts police use of firearms to situations where it is necessary to defend people against imminent threat of death or serious injury or to prevent a grave threat to life. Intentional lethal force ("shooting to kill") is only lawful when it is strictly unavoidable in order to protect life.
There is no independent civilian police oversight body, but the Constitution provides for the office of Ombudsman "to guarantee the rights of citizens and to uphold legality and justice in the actions of the Public Administration".Art. 256, 2004 Constitution of Mozambique (as amended).
Views and Concluding Observations of United Nations Treaty Bodies
In its 2013 Concluding Observations on Mozambique, the Human Rights Committee expressed its concern
at reports of instances of unlawful killings, arbitrary executions of suspected criminals, excessive use of force by law enforcement officers, and the use of torture and ill-treatment in places of deprivation of liberty, including police stations and prisons.
It was further concerned "at the lack of concrete and comprehensive information on investigations, prosecutions, convictions and sanctions imposed on those responsible and at the reported impunity of law enforcement officers involved in such human rights violations".
The Committee was also concerned
that the freedom of assembly and association is not always effectively guaranteed. The Committee is also concerned about allegations of arbitrary arrests and detention of participants in peaceful demonstrations, ... as well as the use of tear gas, water cannons, rubber bullets and batons by police during demonstrations.
In its 2013 Concluding Observations on Mozambique, the Committee against Torture was
gravely concerned about allegations of unlawful killings, including extrajudicial executions, by members of the police during the period under review. It is also concerned at allegations that the police resort to excessive and sometimes lethal force, especially when apprehending suspects and controlling demonstrations.
In its 2014 Concluding Observations on Mozambique, African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights regretted:
The lack of information on investigation and prosecution of cases of torture committed by law enforcement agents, including the police and prison wardens, and the award of reparations to victims....
In its 2012 Report to the African Commission, Mozambique had acknowledged that:
Lately, there have been reports of use of excessive force, torture, extrajudicial executions and other human rights violations by law enforcement agents (policemen and prison wardens).