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Action 58.1
May 2014
Mozambique: Protect women & girls—
reject discrimination in new Penal Code
Photos from March protest by NGOs in Mozambique – Courtesy of Lambda Mozambique
In June, Mozambique is set to enact a new penal code that could foster a culture of violence and
discrimination if passed as written. While progressive revisions have been made in the proposed draft
(Penal Code Review Bill) which was preliminarily approved by Parliament in December 2013,
damaging provisions that would jeopardize the safety and rights of women and girls remain, including:
vague and limited definitions of rape, which could make it easier for rapists to escape prosecution
and fails to protect women from marital rape (Article 217)
allowing relatives of criminals to escape prosecution for hindering an investigation or evidence
tampering, worsening impunity for crimes of sexual violence (Article 24)
defining the rape of a minor as the rape of someone under the age of 12, which directly contradicts
laws in Mozambique that define a child as anyone below the age of 18 (Article 218)
Furthermore, Equality Now and our partners are concerned that a provision from an earlier draft of the
legislation, which would allow a rapist to escape punishment by marrying his victim (former Article
223), might be re-introduced into the current draft before the vote.
The vote is mere weeks away. Please Take Action today!
If this legislation is approved without rectifying these harmful discriminatory provisions, the
ramifications for women and girls would be extremely harmful, signaling that rape and sexual violence
are less serious crimes, if crimes at all, and will not be prosecuted vigorously. Such laws would also
violate Mozambique’s Constitution—which guarantees equal rights before the law—and other regional
and international human rights instruments that Mozambique has ratified, including the Protocol on the
Rights of Women in Africa (the Maputo Protocol).
With the vote this close, we need your help! Please stand with Equality Now, our partners in
the Solidarity for African Women's Rights (SOAWR) coalition, along with WLSA Mozambique, Fórum
Mulher and other Mozambican NGOs in calling on Mozambique’s Parliament to ensure that all positive
changes already made will be approved, and that all provisions that jeopardize the rights and safety of
women and girls are removed before the revision to the Penal Code are adopted.
Join us in urgently calling on the authorities below to demand that:
they reject the damaging and discriminatory provisions in the draft Penal Code, and ensure that the
exemption for rapists is not re-introduced into the legislation;
Mozambique lives up to its domestic, regional and international obligations to protect, enforce, and
uphold the fundamental rights of women and girls.
Dra. Verónica Nataniel Macamo
President, Assembleia da
Palácio do Quarto Congresso
Avenida 24 de Julho
Maputo, Moçambique
Fax: +25821400711011;
+258 21225179
[email protected]
Dr. Teodoro Andrade Waty
Committee on Legal Affairs Human
Rights & Legality of Parliament
Palácio do Quarto Congresso
Avenida 24 de Julho
Maputo, Moçambique
Fax: +25821400711;
+258 21408846
Email: [email protected]
Graça Machel
Former First Lady of Mozambique
& South Africa
President of Fundação
para o Desenvolvimento da
Comunidade (FDC)
Av. 25 de Setembro, Edifícios
Times Square Bloco 2 - 3º andar
Maputo, Moçambique
Email: [email protected]
Dr. Orlando da Graça
Secretary General,
Constitutional Council
Matthew Samson Street Muthemba,
P.O. Box 2372
Maputo, Moçambique
Fax: +25821487432
[email protected]
Maria Benvinda Delfina Levi
Minister of Justice
Ministry of Justice
Av. Julius Nyerere 33
Maputo, Moçambique
Fax: +25821494264
[email protected]
Please keep Equality Now updated on your work & send copies of any replies to our offices:
Equality Now, P.O. Box 20646, Columbus Circle Station, New York, NY 10023 USA
Equality Now, P.O. Box 2018-00202, Nairobi, KENYA
Equality Now, 1 Birdcage Walk, London SW1H 9JJ, UK
Email: [email protected] / Website: