Committee Against Torture: Mozambique

CAT session 051 (2013)

(10 December 2013, CAT/C/MOZ/CO/1, Concluding observations on initial report, paras. 25 and 27)

"… The Committee is also concerned at reports of corporal punishment (whipping) inflicted by some traditional authorities. Furthermore, it regrets the lack of information on the steps taken to ensure that customary law in Mozambique is not incompatible with the State party’s obligations under the Convention (art. 16).

The State party should:

a)     strengthen its efforts to prevent and combat harmful traditional practices, particularly in rural areas, and ensure that such acts are investigated and the alleged perpetrators prosecuted and, if convicted, punished with appropriate sanctions;

b)     provide victims with legal, medical, psychological and rehabilitative services and compensation, and create the conditions for them to report complaints without fear of reprisal; and

c)     provide judges, prosecutors, law enforcement officials and traditional authorities with training on the strict application of the relevant legislation criminalizing harmful traditional practices and other forms of violence against women and children.

In general, the State party should ensure that its customary law and practices are compatible with its human rights obligations, particularly those under the Convention. In its next periodic report, the State party should provide information on the hierarchy between traditional practices and codified law, especially with regard to forms of discrimination against women and children.

"While recognizing that corporal punishment has been abolished as a penalty for crime and that it is prohibited in penal institutions, the Committee is concerned that it is not explicitly prohibited in the home, schools and all care settings (art. 16)."

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