The current terrorism threat in the North of Mozambique has led to a security crisis and mass internal displacement in the northern provinces of the country. In response, the Mozambican government has taken important steps to enhance its counter terrorism and counter terrorist financing policy frameworks. As part of its extensive counter-terrorism capacity-building assistance, UNODC continues working closely with national institutions to strengthen the country’s policy and legislative frameworks in these fields, in accordance with international obligations, standards, and human rights principles.
Thanks to the financial support of the European Union (EU), UNODC is assisting the Mozambican government in developing a comprehensive and integrated national Strategy in countering terrorism and preventing violent extremism (PVE). To that end, in March 2023, UNODC conducted a study visit for Mozambican officials to South Africa to facilitate an exchange with experts from Kenya and South Africa on good practices and approaches in national policies to counter terrorism and PVE.
Participants analysed several national counterterrorism strategies, from Kenya, Mali and South Africa, as well as the regional Southern African Development Community Counter Terrorism Strategy. During the discussions, participants emphasized that effective national CT/PVE strategies should address the specific needs of vulnerable groups, including youth, women, and victims of terrorism through a “whole-of-government, whole-of-society” approach. This would entail the engagement of both governmental and non-governmental actors, namely community and inter-faith leaders, which is key to fostering meaningful, collective efforts in addressing the push-pull factors conducive to terrorism and violent extremism. Stakeholders also discussed the increased threat posed by new and emerging technologies used to disseminate propaganda, incite, radicalize and recruit members or fighters, as well as finance terrorist activities.
As a follow-up to the exchange visit, and as part of an EU-funded project, UNODC facilitated a visit for Mozambican officials to Kenya to meet with senior officials from the Kenyan National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC) to examine and discuss their national approach to countering terrorism and PVE.
The visit was attended by Mozambican public prosecutors, criminal investigators and representatives of the Ministry of Justice, Constitutional and Religious Affairs of Mozambique, as well as representatives from South African and Kenyan counterpart institutions, and UNODC and Southern African Development Community Regional Counter-Terrorism Centre (SADC) experts. EU representatives also contributed to the event. The visit allowed Mozambican officials to explore good practices in the development of a national CT and PVE Strategy under the guidance of counterterrorism experts from UNODC and the SADC.
During the opening of the event, Mr. Philip Divett, UNODC’s Counter Terrorism Programme Manager for Southern Africa highlighted “these visits are key to fostering cooperation between criminal justice practitioners and law enforcement actors and, in particular, enhancing awareness about current national and international approaches and practices, as well as the importance of bilateral and regional cooperation between jurisdictions to combat the financing of terrorism.”
Speaking on behalf of the EU, Ms Rashmi Thapa, Regional Crisis Response Planner, Service for Foreign Policy Instruments (FPI), East and Southern Africa of the Delegation of the EU to the Republic of Kenya stated “I am happy to be here to witness the regional exchange, an important component in learning and sharing best practices from like-minded countries. All of which will be key in developing a comprehensive CT Strategy that is anchored in a whole-of-society approach.”
Mozambique has demonstrated high-level commitment to revise legal and policy frameworks related to terrorism and terrorist financing in line with international standards. UNODC, with the support of its international partners, is committed to working with Mozambique to strengthen its institutional capacity to bring terrorists to justice in an accountable, transparent, rule-of-law and human rights-compliant manner.
UNODC is a key multilateral assistance provider working with the Government of Mozambique, in addressing criminal justice responses to terrorism and providing specialized counter-terrorism assistance to criminal justice actors and law enforcement agencies in Mozambique tasked with combatting the terrorist threat, particularly in the Northern part of the country.
UNODC works worldwide to build the capacity of national criminal justice systems to prevent and counter terrorism more efficiently through capacity-building workshops at the national, sub-regional and regional levels, sharing 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.