Over the past six years, Mozambique has been suffering from terrorist attacks in its northern provinces, causing numerous casualties and displacing people internally. Violence in the region has increased in scale and intensity. There have also been reports of kidnapping of children and women for the purpose of exploitation and sexual violence, use of child soldiers, and recruitment of foreign terrorist fighters from neighboring countries.
Given the current terrorism threat in the country, there is an urgent need to maintain peace and preserve the rule of law in affected areas. To achieve this, the government of Mozambique has been actively collaborating with UNODC to build a responsive criminal justice system by strengthening its institutional capacity in the investigation, prosecution, and trial of terrorism-related offences.
According to The Eastern and Southern Africa Anti-Money Laundering Group (ESAAMLG) Anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing measures – Mozambique Mutual Evaluation Report (2021), a lack of compliance with the international standards and a low effectiveness of the anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing system have been identified. Therefore, Mozambique conducted a national risk assessment in 2022, concluding that the country faces high risks of money laundering and terrorism financing due to the permeability of its financial system.
In February 2023, during an interview for UN News, Mrs. Veronica Macamo, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Mozambique stated that Mozambique has “the combat aspect, or armed actions against terrorism, and [we] also have mitigation actions. Because we have populations that have moved away. When they return, they have to find the conditions there to be able to get on with their lives. As well as killing, terrorists destroy hospitals, schools and almost everything. These conditions have to be created. We have a reconstruction programme for Cabo Delgado that is underway.”
As part of its wider efforts to address these challenges, UNODC delivered a workshop on countering terrorist financing in Maputo on 28 August-1 September 2023. The objective of which was to raise awareness of the phenomenon of terrorist financing amongst key national stakeholders and enhance their knowledge, skills and capacity to prevent and/or combat this threat through enhanced technical capacity and cooperation and coordination with the Centre for Legal and Judicial Training (CFJJ) of Mozambique.
The event was held under the framework of the project “Assisting Mozambique to strengthen criminal justice responses to terrorism, including strengthening the capacities for collecting, preserving, and sharing of evidence in line with human rights standards”, funded by the Federal Republic of Germany.
During the opening remarks of the workshop, Mr. Benjamin Jeromin, Deputy Head of Cooperation at the Federal Republic of German Embassy in Mozambique stated “the Federal Republic of Germany is proud to contribute to the efforts undertaken by the Government of Mozambique to counter terrorism through financial support to the UNODC project […] this is a part of the integrated approach between Mozambican leadership and its international partners, such as UNODC.”
In turn, Mr. Philip Divett, Terrorism Prevention Programme Coordinator for Southern Africa at UNODC highlighted that “UNODC is very pleased and privileged to direct partner and support the effective efforts of Mozambique and its partners through implementation of activities such as this one starting today […] we’d like to thank the Government of Germany for their financial support and their continuous interest in supporting the work of UNODC to deliver.”
To close the workshop, Mrs. Sheila Cossa, Deputy General Director of the Centre for Legal and Judicial Training (CFJJ), recalled that the “CFJJ is thankful to the UNODC for its technical support in providing courses on terrorism and its financing, because without the UNODC we would not have been able to materialize this action, as well the government of Germany through its embassy, for the financial support to these activities […] we believe that the experiences shared during the week, will help to increase the number of investigated and prosecuted cases related to terrorism.”
With its placement on the grey list of the FATF, the government of Mozambique has committed to swiftly resolve the identified shortcomings within agreed timeframes and is currently subject to increased monitoring to assess its progress. As a trusted partner of the government, UNODC is privileged to be a key international partner committed to helping support the country in exiting the list.
To bring all terrorists to justice, UNODC will continue to scale up its support in strengthening the capacity of Mozambican justice sector and keep identifying key priorities related to terrorism cases while reinforcing cooperation with the Mozambican government.
UNODC works to build the capacity of national criminal justice systems to prevent and counter terrorism more efficiently through capacity-building workshops at the national, subregional and regional levels, sharing legislation expertise on implementing anti-terrorism legislation and other measures in compliance with the rule of law and international norms and standards on human rights, and promoting regional and international cooperation between Member States.