2010 Human Rights Report
Mozambique has a democratic constitution and an estimated population of 22.4 million. President Armando Guebuza was reelected in October 2009 in a contest criticized by several national and international observers, including the EU and the Commonwealth, as lacking a "level playing field" and faulted for lacking transparency, integrity, impartiality, and independence. Domestic and foreign observer groups and local civil society expressed concern over the electoral procedures that preceded the balloting, particularly the exclusion of six of nine presidential candidates and disqualification of one opposition party's parliamentary candidates from seven of 11 provinces. Freedom House has since removed the country from its list of electoral democracies. There were instances in which elements of the security forces acted independently of civilian control.
Incidents of serious human rights abuses, including vigilante killings, occurred during the year. Security forces continued to commit unlawful killings. Prison conditions remained harsh and life threatening, resulting in several deaths. Arbitrary arrest and detention, as well as lengthy pretrial detention, were problems. An understaffed and inadequately trained judiciary was inefficient and influenced by the ruling party. Political and judicial decisions involving independent media outlets constrained press freedom. Societal problems including domestic violence, discrimination against women, abuse, exploitation, and forced labor of children, trafficking in women and children, and discrimination against persons with HIV/AIDS remained widespread.