In his report, the Independent Expert on protection against violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity provides an overview of the enjoyment of human rights by lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans populations in Mozambique, drawing on information received in the context of his visit from 3 to 10 December 2018. He assesses the implementation of existing national and international human rights standards to combat violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. He makes recommendations to further the fight against violence and discrimination in Mozambique, highlights remaining gaps, and identifies good practices that might be useful in the African context and for the community of nations in general.
1. The present report examines the situation of violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in Mozambique, drawing on information received by the Independent Expert in the context of his visit to the country from 3 to 10 December 2018. The purpose of his visit was threefold: to identify opportunities and challenges surrounding social inclusion in a country firmly committed to the furtherance of the goal of leaving no one behind, within the framework of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development; to assess the impact of the 2015 same-sex decriminalization process on social perceptions and State action; and to draw from the experiences of Mozambique, a country with an extraordinary history of confluence of traditions and plurality of legal orders.
2. The Independent Expert worked in situ in Maputo and Nampula, where he met with representatives of the executive, legislative and judicial branches, local authorities, the National Human Rights Commission and with the Ombudsman. The Independent Expert wishes to thank the Government of Mozambique for the invitation to conduct the visit and for its excellent hospitality and cooperation during the visit. For many of the interlocutors he met, his visit was the first opportunity to have an institutional discussion about the human rights problematic faced by lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans persons, and he is thankful for the notable openness, respect and candour with which all discussions were held, as well as the commitment of the State to thoughtful attention to these matters in the future.
3. The Independent Expert also had the opportunity to speak at great length with leaders and community members of the Islamic faith in Nampula and leaders of other religious denominations in Maputo, as well as with traditional healers in the north of the country. The Independent Expert is always encouraged when he speaks with prominent religious and community leaders: while divergent views are identified in relation to some specific matters, it is at all times possible to agree on the fact that violence and discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity are never justified and must be condemned and discouraged. The Independent Expert was also thankful to hear, from all interlocutors, about their willingness to continue a conversation about learning how to create spaces of peaceful and respectful coexistence. When creating its resolution 32/2, the Human Rights Council requested that dialogue be one of the principles for the mandate, and he was delighted to have been able to implement this approach so actively during this visit.
4. The Independent Expert also benefited from the cooperation and indispensable support of Lambda, the leading lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans organization in Mozambique, the leaders and members of which showed great generosity in sharing their knowledge and opinions. The organization facilitated contact with dozens of members of the community who, in turn, shared their lived experiences. In addition, he had the privilege of meeting with a number of civil society organizations working in areas that have significant intersections with the concerns of his mandate. He also met with the United Nations country team, as well as members of the diplomatic corps.
5. The Independent Expert wishes to thank everyone he met and expresses his gratitude for their readiness to engage in an open and constructive dialogue. He is also profoundly grateful to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people who shared their stories with him. Lastly, he would like to thank the United Nations Country Team for its support before and during the visit.