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Success Story | Expanding Mozambican HRDs network’s advocacy capacities


This article is part of a series of articles published in conjunction with our annual report. You can read the full report “Reaching Further” here.


The Mozambique Human Rights Defenders Network (RMDDH) is an initiative of Mozambican civil society that aims to strengthen the capacity and resilience of Human Rights Defenders, as well as improve protection and security within the scope of its mission to defend human rights in Mozambique and promote civic space. RMDDH’s vision is of a free and safe country for Human Rights Defenders, where communities can fully develop and youth are engaged as potential Human Rights Defenders. It is a non-partisan, impartial, non-profit organization, independent of the Government, made up of private legal persons who act in defense of human rights and individuals who are Human Rights Defenders.

The restriction of civic space in Mozambique is tangible. Multiple serious obstacles to fundamental human rights including freedom of assembly and association, including peaceful demonstration, and to freedom of press and expression continue to restrict the work of civil society actors. The operating environment for human rights defenders is highly challenging: they are facing constant defamation (as a political strategy to undermine their credibility), threats, physical attacks, and even killings. Impunity for cases of violations to human rights violations and crimes committed against human rights defenders is sadly common practice. Land and environmental rights defenders pay a heavy price in the context of their fight against the extractive industry, for example, in the North of the country. The RMDDH was launched and is currently “hosted” by the Center for Democracy and Human Rights (CDD), waiting for its “independance” that will come with more funding and a proper governance. It aims at creating a network of HRDs from all the country, with relays in the different provinces, to be as close as possible to grassroots defenders, whose situations often go unnoticed on a national scale, let alone an international one. In this context, the field mission led by FIDH in Maputo was a way for RMDDH to build its own relationship with an international actor, and then expand its network and advocacy capacities, as RMDHH can of course rely on us for any kind of support they may need, for joint publication or events, etc.

In May 2023, FIDH, in the framework of, conducted a field mission to Maputo, Mozambique, to investigate on the situation of HRDs and civic space in the country, ahead of the October 2023 municipal elections. The delegation, made out of two FIDH representatives, and one person from Tanzanian organisation LHRC (member organisation of FIDH), had the opportunity to meet with the Center for Human Rights and Democracy (CDD), FIDH new member organisation in the country, as well as national authorities, representatives of the international community, as well as a wide range of HRDs. In particular, the mission met with the Mozambique Network of Human Rights Defenders, a network which is being supported and managed by CDD, waiting for more funds to autonomize itself. The links we created among us, FIDH and RMDDH, allowed us to develop our network and connections on Mozambique, to publish a joint report on the situation of HRDs and civic space that was launched in September 2023, and to be invited in different events for advocacy purposes.

This mission was the first one of FIDH / the Observatory in Mozambique, coming a few months after when CDD just joined FIDH. The invitation of another member organisation of FIDH -from Tanzania- to be part of the mission in a neighboring country was highly appreciated, as LHRC could share experiences and advises with CDD and RMDDH. This experience is to be replicated in the future.