Mozambique ranks 180 out of 189 in the Human Development Index 2018. Its geographical configuration and location contribute to it being ranked third among African countries most affected by climate-related disasters. In addition, human-made disasters, including an on-going situation of violence in the northern part of the country and political instability in central Mozambique, make for a complex protection environment.
The situation of violence in Cabo Delgado has brought about significant displacement and protection concerns. According to the Cabo Delgado Rapid Response Plan (RRP) 211,485 persons are internally displaced2 as of June 2020 within the Province although this number continues to grow and has doubled since March 2020 while many individuals have been displaced multiple times. A spill-over effect of the IDPs has taken place. As of June 2020; more than 5,500 IDP have arrived Nampula and over 100 in Niassa.
While all IDPs are vulnerable during an emergency, certain groups such as women, children, older persons, persons living with HIV/AIDS and people with disabilities face heightened protection risks and have specific protection needs. More than half of the people affected by violence in Cabo Delgado are children and protection concerns, including recruitment of children into armed groups, kidnappings, sexual and genderbased violence against women and girls, abuse of power by military, loss of personal documentation, issues related to land and property rights have been widely reported.
Mozambique has a multi-fold protection context, on one hand responding to the situation of violence while also being mindful of the continued protection needs arising out of the fragile durable solutions established following Cyclone Idai for 95,3384 IDPs living in resettlement sites. Moreover, COVID-19 compounds the vulnerability of persons previously affected by an emergency across the country and leaves additional groups, such as urban youth, refugees, asylum seekers and persons living in detention or other closed facilities at heightened risk. To address this; a COVID-19 Flash Appeal was released on 4 June 2020 covering the nation-wide COVID-19 response in Mozambique.
Multiple shocks, including natural disasters, drought, political hostilities in central Mozambique and an escalating situation of violence by unidentified armed groups in Northern Mozambique since 2017 have critically increased protection concerns and other risk factors such as disease outbreaks, leaving more than 712,000 people, directly or indirectly affected by violence in Cabo Delgado5 in need of life-saving assistance and 7.9 million persons in need due to COVID-196. No humanitarian need overview (HNO) or HRP currently exist in Mozambique hence, a country-wide persons in need figure is of difficult estimation although trends of protection needs indicate that the protection environment and trends in country have significantly deteriorated since the Protection Cluster Strategy was first adopted in October 2019.
Recalling that protection is central to all humanitarian action, the National Protection Cluster has developed this Protection Cluster Strategy in an effort to ensure a coherent, sustainable and comprehensive protection response in Mozambique. The centrality of protection is realized by way of operationalizing a multidimensional and multi-partner response. All assistance shall be carried out in accordance with the principles of humanity and impartiality and without discrimination in all humanitarian action as reaching the people who are most in need of assistance is central to the humanitarian mandate.
Mindful that the primary duty and responsibility to provide protection to the situation lies with the Government of Mozambique; the Protection Cluster is committed to collaborate with the Government to ensure that measures are timely, high quality and inclusive. Shared responsibility in ensuring the sustainability of interventions relies on the collaboration and engagement with local and national actors for which the Protection Cluster is prepared to provide the necessary coordination in. To this end, it should be noted that Mozambique is a State Party to the Kampala Convention on Internal Displacement, indicating the Government’s commitment towards findings durable solutions for IDPs. The protection Cluster supports the Government of Mozambique in this endeavor while being mindful that, in areas affected by violence; protection actors will ensure the respect of international standards of impartiality, neutrality, humanity and independence to realize civilians’ access to basic services and safety.