Press Statement: For Immediate Release
(New York, 31 March 2021)
The three United Nations (UN) High-Level Officials express serious concerns about the rapid degradation in the humanitarian situation in the northern province of Cabo Delgado, Mozambique, due to insecurity and escalating violence caused by fighting between State security forces and armed elements and groups, with recent reports of horrific attacks on villages and killings, beheading, kidnapping, rape and abduction of civilians including women and children. The protection and humanitarian needs of the civilian population, especially women and children, must be urgently addressed, said the three UN High-Level Officials who strongly condemn the brutal and horrific acts of violence reported.
“The gruesome reports about the unprecedented levels of violence especially the killings, beheading and kidnapping of civilians, including women and very young children, are absolutely shocking. We urge all extremist and other armed groups operating in Mozambique to forthwith cease all acts of violence against the civilian population, especially children and women. The Government of Mozambique must exercise its duty of due diligence to protect girls and boys, women and civilians from atrocities and acts of violence as well as prevent, investigate and punish all such acts of violence. We further urge all parties to ensure safe and unimpeded access to humanitarian organizations for the provision of much-needed assistance,” they said.
The escalation of the conflict in Cabo Delgado in recent months has caused a serious humanitarian crisis forcing almost 700,000 people from their homes according to UNHCR, half of whom are children. Boys and girls are particularly affected by the crisis and are at heightened risks of suffering grave violations, with reports of recruitment and use by armed groups, sexual violence, abduction and disrupted access to humanitarian assistance and education. The three UN Officials further urge the authorities to ensure that all survivors especially children and women are provided with timely medical and psychosocial help they need to recover.