Lack of transitional justice has caused political crisis – Alice Mabota

Last Month, the president of the Mozambican Human Rights League, Alice Mabota, pointed to the lack of justice in the post-war transition as the main cause of the political and military crisis and said respect for fundamental rights was a “great challenge”.

“If conflict exists today, it is because there was no transitional justice when the first conflict ended in 1992 [the 16year civil war]”, Mabota told a press conference held in Maputo at a reception for Canada’s Lawyers Without Borders.

Transitional justice consists of judicial and non-judicial measures implemented in order to redress legacies of human rights abuses.

Measures “include criminal prosecutions, truth commissions, reparations programmes, and various kinds of institutional reforms”.

For Mabota, when the war ended in Mozambique, no attention was paid to the need for social reconciliation, a process that could have opened space for the civilian integration of a party that for a long time had been perceived as an enemy, she said, referring to members of the armed wing of Renamo, the main opposition party.

“No one asked how to look at a person upon whom, for a long time, a label had been imposed. We did not ask how we could change this”, Mabota said, adding

that without social justice, peace is impossible.  0357898723

The participation of civil society in the negotiation process between the government and Renamo was highlighted as an essential element for the achievement of peace and for the country to progress with respect to human rights.

“We [the civil society] have the task of drawing government attention to implementing justice in a transitional phase”, Mabota said.

The experience of Canada’s Lawyers Without Borders would be extremely useful for Mozambique in this phase, she added.

Pascal Paradis, the director general of Lawyers Without Borders Canada, said that the adoption of an inclusive dialogue model is an important step in overcoming the political crisis, and that experiences of closed talks in other countries had shown such a model of negotiations to be ineffective.

“The more inclusive the process, the easier it is to achieve peace”, Paradis said.

It was his understanding that, despite significant advances, the country still had a very long path ahead in the human rights sector.

Source: A Bola/Moçambique Media Online/Lusa

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