A National Census is used to obtain data on the prevalence of disability in Mozambique. Between 2007 and 2008 a National Household Survey Among People with Disabilities was carried out in Mozambique as part of a project jointly organised by Mozambique´s National Statistical Office (INE), the Federation of People with Disabilities in Mozambique (FAMOD), and a Norwegian based NGO, the Stiftelsen for Industriell og Teknisk Forskning (SINTEF), as partner.4
According to the 2007 Census, of the total percentage of persons with disabilities the following was recorded:8
The Mozambican civil law legal system is based on the Romano-Germanic tradition law, whereby once international treaties or other international instruments are ratified and published, they automatically enter into force in national law as set out in the Constitution.14 According to article 204 of the Constitution, it is the competency of the Council of Ministers to prepare international treaties for signature, the President of the Republic has to sign international treaties,15 and Parliament has to ratify international treaties. This means that constitutional provisions, such as the Bill of Rights and the ratification of international treaties and covenants, are ineffective if they are not supplemented with national legislation and regulation relating to human rights.16 Furthermore, the constitutional principles in respect of fundamental rights shall be interpreted and integrated in harmony with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and with the African Charter of Human and Peoples’ Rights.17
International treaties are received in the form of a resolution approved either by Parliament or by the Council of Ministers. The CPRD and its Optional Protocol were adopted by a resolution from the Mozambican Parliament.18
Article 15 of the Mozambican Constitution, in the context of National Liberation, Defence of Sovereignty and Democracy, and the armed conflict that ended with the signing of the General Peace Agreement in 1992 states that the state shall ensure the special protection of those who were disabled in the national liberation struggle, as well as the orphans and other dependants of those who died in this cause.
Article 16(1) of the Mozambican Constitution maintains that the state shall ensure special protection for persons disabled during the armed conflict that ended with the signing of the General Peace Agreement in 1992 as well as the orphans and other direct dependants. Article 16(2) confirms that the state shall, likewise protect those who have been disabled in the performance of public service or a humanitarian act. Article 16(3) determines how the rights established in this article are to be made effective.
Another provision indirectly applicable to the rights of people with disabilities in Mozambique is article 95, which states that all citizens shall have the right to assistance in the case of disability or old age, therefore, the state shall promote and encourage the creation of conditions for realising this right.
With respect to childhood, the Constitution states that all children have the right to protection from the family, from society and from the state, keeping in mind their full development and, in particular orphans, disabled and abandoned children, shall be protected by family, by society and by the state against all forms of discrimination, ill treatment and the abusive use of authority within family and other institutions.20
Article 35 of the Constitution ensures that all citizens are equal before the law, and they shall enjoy the same rights and be subject to the same duties, regardless of various status or conditions, therein enunciated.
Mozambique has enacted different pieces of legislation that mention people with disabilities or deal with issues relating to disabilities. The follow table sets out the most prominent legislation that mentions or refers to disability related issues:
Regulates the Construction and Maintenance of Technical Accessibility , Circulation and Use of Public Service Systems by People with Disabilities . It approves the technical specifications on accessibility and the use of the International Symbol of Access.
Disability Policy that outlines some specific rights for people with disabilities, including but not limited to the right to independent living; the right to integration in the family and community; the right to rehabilitation and access to compensation means; the right to formal, special or vocational education; the right to employment; and the right to social protection.
The Labour Law protects the rights of employees from disadvantaged groups, amongst others people with disabilities.21
Establishes the rights and duties of persons living with HIV and AIDS , and takes measures necessary for the prevention, protection and treatment of the same and indicates that people with a disability have the right to be secured proper communication and civic education in the appropriate language or means taking into account their special needs.
This legislation redresses the general framework of the National Education System (NES) and enunciates the right of children with disabilities to education and foresees special classes of mainstream schools, ensuring the right of children with multiple disabilities or severe mental disorders to benefit from education tailored to their needs in a personalised manner. Article 29(3) of the legislation sets forth that vocational training shall be provided to children with disabilities in order to assist their integration into society and the labour market.
The policy facilitates the promotion and protection of the rights of people with disabilities. It provides guidance for disability considerations in policy and legislative reform. The underlying principles and strategies are aiming to ensure people with disabilities’ effective participation in every aspect of contemporary society. It outlines some specific rights for people with disabilities, including, but not limited to the right to independent living; the right to integration in the family and community; the right to rehabilitation and access to compensatory means; the right to formal, special or vocational education; the right to employment; and the right to social protection. Most of the provisions of the strategy have to be implemented, due to government’s insufficient financial resources. This means that accessibility to public services, buildings and public transportation for people with disabilities to facilities remains a general problem, which is compounded by negative social attitudes by the larger public.23
The policy’s aims are to strategically promote and develop vocational education for people with disabilities, as well as to create conditions for the maintenance, integration or reintegration of people with disabilities in public anointing; phasing mechanisms, percentages or quotas reserved for people with a disability in the institutions of the state, as well as the need to ensure career development and advancement.24
This programme has been in place since 2004. The aim is to develop a strategy for supporting landmine survivors and others with injuries that have been caused by the civil war, 1976-1992. This is a multi-sectoral programme, involving the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Women and Social Action and the National Demining Institute. Assistance to victims comprises two essential components: medical care, provided by the Ministry of Health; and psychosocial assistance, provided by the Ministry of Women and Social Action, and also a number of humanitarian organisations including Network of Associations of Assistance to Victims of Mines, Red Cross, AMA, Handicap International, Power, FAMOD (Forum das Associações Moçambicanas de Deficientes/Forum of the Mozambican Associations of People with Disabilities) and UNICEF.25
FAMOD functions as an umbrella for DPOs in Mozambique. FAMOD members cover organisations dealing with all types of disabilities whose activities cover all geographical areas of Mozambique. FAMOD´s vision is to strengthen the interest of the members of associations through courses, seminars and workshops: to change societies’ attitudes with reference to people with disabilities; to integrate the subjects of disability in project and programmes of national development and to coordinate and to share the information with partners that work with people with disabilities.30
There is working relationship between the Mozambican DPOs and the Ministry of Women and Social Action. This relationship has facilitated interactions with the disability sector through its civil society structures.
It is difficult to ascertain the extent to which organisations in Mozambique specifically monitor the implementation and their participation in the implementation of the CRPD.31
Most of the barriers associated with implementation are a lack of political will, resources and funding for DPOs. DPOs in Mozambique are operating in a society that has little awareness of disability issues.
The ratification of the CRPD itself may be seen as an important recognition of the rights of persons with disabilities. This was due to the involvement and engagement of DPOs in the ratification process. Since ratification there is no outstanding development.
Resource constraints (both qualified personnel and funding) limit the extent to which DPOs are able to comprehensively engage with the implementation process. This will be an area for capacity building and support with respect to DPO's engagement with the implementation process in future.
Ministry for Women and Social Action is the main government body with the main responsibilities vis a vis disability and they focus, amongst others on coordinating other sectors’ activities relating to the dissemination of already established policies and supervising their implementation.
There is currently a need to ensure compliance with accessibility. These challenges have been responded to by approval of the Regulation on Construction and Maintenance of Technical Accessibility, Circulation and Use of Public Service Systems by People with Disabilities.32 New Government buildings under construction included some improvements for those with disabilities, including accessibility ramps.
Decree no 11/2009 of 29 May 2009, approves the Regulation on Automobile Transportation and sets forth the exemption and reduction of rates in urban and inter-urban areas and public transport for disabled people. This is based upon non-discriminatory constitutional principles and outlines specific rights for people with disabilities. A considerable percentage of people with disabilities lives in rural areas and are constrained in their ability to move far from home to seek either medical care or to attend to other situations due to transport costs, services being predominantly found in cities.
Mozambique´s Ministry of Education and Culture is primarily responsible for monitoring policies and implementing strategies to ensure that disabled people have access to basic education and skills training. The legislation in place, mainly, Law no 6/92 of 6 May enunciates the right of children with disabilities to education and foresees special classes in mainstream schools ensuring the right of children with multiple disabilities or severe mental disorders to benefit from education tailored to their capacities in a personalised manner. Article 29(3) of the Law sets forth that vocational training shall be provided to children with disabilities in order to assist their integration into society and the labour market.
The Ministry of Labour, through the Institute for Employment and Professional Training (INEFP) provides training which enables people with disabilities to acquire specific skills and thus become self-employed.33
The Law no 23/2007 of 21 August 2007 which approves the Labour Law, contains important provisions concerning employment of persons with disabilities. Pursuant to the Law, employers shall promote the adoption of appropriate measures that allow employees with disabilities or chronic illnesses to have the same rights and duties as other employees, with respect to access to employment, vocational training and promotion, as well as suitable working conditions to enable them to perform socially useful activities, taking into account the specific circumstances of their impaired working capacity. It also defines the role of the state, in coordination with trade union and employer associations and organisations representing people with disabilities to promote employment and takes into account the means and resources available, stimulates and supports actions leading to the vocational rehabilitation of persons with disabilities and to their placement in jobs suited to their residual capacities. Accordingly, special measures to protect access to employment for persons with disabilities must be instituted and implemented by the state.
Mozambique´s government through the Ministry of Youth and Sports has been working towards creating an enabling environment for young people to engage in sporting and recreational events, with specific provisions to promote the involvement and participation of youngsters with a disability. The government has established a Sports Federation for People with Disability.34
There is no specific programme to support access to justice for persons with disabilities. In general, there are a number of obstacles to the application of the right to access to justice in the country. These include but are not limited to poverty and therefore the inability to afford legal fees, lack of awareness, corruption, inaccessible buildings and transport. There are some institutions and programmes in Mozambique designed to provide pro bono assistance with regard to access to justice, which in general can indirectly benefit people with disabilities.
The Ministry of Health provides rehabilitation centres and the Ministry of Women and Social Action is responsible for coordinating psychosocial and economic reintegration activities, which include community-based rehabilitation. Therefore, physiotherapy and orthopaedic services are provided by both ministries.
Basic social security in Mozambique is provided to nationals without own means of subsistence, including people with disabilities, who are living under absolute poverty. This system is managed by the Ministry of Women and Social Action, thought INAS - Instituto Nacional de Acção Social. Decree no 52/2011 of 12 October, regulates conditions of access to the grants.
The most basic form of political participation, is free and regular voting to choose one’s representatives. Free and fair elections require universal suffrage for all eligible men and women to vote in Mozambique and do not exclude minorities such as people with disabilities.
Some of the key aspects that need to be addressed in Mozambique relate to increasing awareness about disability in Mozambique among people with disabilities as well as the non-disabled, in order to improve respect of human rights for people with disabilities. The concerns of people with disabilities include lack of access to socio-economic opportunities and employment, limited access to buildings and transportation, and the lack of wheelchairs. Specialised access facilities are rare, and there are few job opportunities for people with disabilities in the formal sector.
The country's only psychiatric hospital is overburdened with patients and lacks the means to ensure basic nutrition, medicine or shelter. Hospital doctors also reported that many families abandon their relatives with disabilities. Demobilised persons with disabilities continued to assert that they did not receive their pensions.
Accessibility to facilities remains a problem in Mozambique. The Construction and Maintenance of Technical Accessibility, Circulation and Use of Public Service Systems by People with Disabilities was adopted.35
1. INE Tabelas - III Recenseamento Geral da Populacão e Habitacão available at: http://www.ine.gov.mz/ (accessed 26 September 2013). The 2007 Census used the terminology of persons with disabilities to gather data which reflects the prevalence of certain disabilities, defined as people who have ‘impairments of physical, mental or sensory nature’.
3. MUNDI Moçambique População Perfil 2012 available at: http://www.indexmundi.com/pt/mocambique/populacao_perfil.html (accessed 26 September 2013).
4. SINTEF Living condition[s] among people with disabilities in Mozambique: A national representative study(2009) available at: http://www.safod.org/Resource%20centre/LC%20Report%20Mozam bique%20-%20final.pdf (accessed 26 September 2013).
5. INE Tabela população portadora de deficiência por idade, segundo área de residência e sexo, Moçambique (2007), http://www.ine.gov.mz/ (accessed 26 September 2013). These figures have been subject to recurring debates due to the lack of a robust systematic collection of data regarding the number of disabled people living in the country, see The Leonard Cheshire Disability and Inclusive Development Centre, University College London Disability Policy Audit in Namibia, Swaziland, Malawi and Mozambique (2008) 81, available at: http://www.ucl.ac.uk/lc-ccr/downloads/DISABILITY_POLICY_AU DIT_RESEARCH_FINAL_REPORT.pdf (accessed 26 September 2013).
11. Most of the treaties were signed in a transitional period during or after the civil war, and only recently has there been a more efficient inter-ministerial structure to start preparing submission of overdue reports. Information provided by the Delegates of the Ministry of Justice during the 49th Session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, held in Banjul, The Gambia, May 2011.
12. OSISA Mozambique: Justice sector and the rule of law (2006) 6 available at: http://www.afrimap.org/english/images/report/Mozambique%20Justice%20report%20 (Eng).pdf (accessed 26 September 2013).
13. UN Human Rights Council Report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review: Mozambique (2001), available at: http://www.refworld.org/topic,50ffbce51b1,50ffbce 5208,4dd4ea602,0,,, MOZ.html (accessed 26 September 2013). During this tenth session of the UPR, recommendations were made by the recommending states, which contained express reference to disability rights. The recommendations focused on the ratification of the CRPD and its Optional Protocol. Mozambique clarified that the National Assembly adopted a resolution approving the ratification of the CRPD. At the time, Mozambique´s Minister of Justice confirmed that resolutions approving Mozambique´s ratification of the CRPD and its Optional Protocol were in the process of publication prior to the deposit of the instrument of ratification.
14. According to article 18 of the Mozambican Constitution: ‘[v]alidly approved and ratified International treaties and agreements shall enter into force in the Mozambican legal order once they have been officially published, for as long as they are internationally binding on the Mozambican State’.
There have been some ongoing debates as to the interpretation of Article 17(2) of the Constitution which states that ‘[t]he Republic of Mozambique shall accept, observe and apply the principles of the Charter of the United Nations and of the Charter of the Organisation of African Unity’. This provision seems to refer to application of the principles, but not the substantive provisions of the Universal Declaration and the African Charter. Article 17(2) is complemented by article 43 of the Constitution, which states that ‘[t]he constitutional principles in respect of fundamental rights shall be interpreted and integrated in harmony with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and with the African Charter of Human and Peoples Rights’. Article 43 goes much further than Article 17(2) in emphasising the centrality of these human rights treaties. Article 43, contains explanatory language aimed at providing constitutional guidance on the interpretation of human rights provisions under Mozambique´s Constitution. The Mozambican courts have not tested the application and interpretation of international instruments to which Mozambique is a state party. Therefore many of the principles of international law still need to be substantively developed in the Mozambican context.
18. Resolução no 29/2010 de 31 de Dezembro de 2010; Publication: BR no 052, I Série, 8º Supl. de 31 de Dezembro de 2010, pág. 336-(403) a 336-(426) and Resolução no 30/2010 de 31 de Dezembro de 2010 Publication: BR no 052, I Série, 8º Supl. de 31 de Dezembro de 2010, pág. 336-(426) a 336-(429).
21. The law mentions that measures that benefit certain disadvantaged groups, namely, by reason of their sex, reduced capacity to work, disability or chronic illness, for the purpose of guaranteeing the exercise of the rights established in this law on an equal footing and to correct a factual situation of inequality in social life, shall not be considered discriminatory.
25. Ministério dos Negócios Estrangeiros e Cooperação, Instituto Nacional de Desminagem Plano Nacional de Acção contra Minas (2008-2014) 3, available at: http://www.gichd.org/fileadmin/pdf/other_languages/portuguese/LMAD/NMAS-Mozambique-2002-2006-po.pdf (accessed 26 September 2013) .
30. SAFOD Research Program Forum Mozambican of Associations of Disabled, available at: http://www.safod.org/SRP%20Web%20site/Mozambique%20SRP%20Country%20R eport.pdf (accessed 26 September 2013).
31. The Leonard Cheshire Disability and Inclusive Development Centre (n 5 above) 87. In a focus group discussion organised by FAMOD, the attendants representing a number of DPOs expressed the view that the Mozambican Government has only come up with a wish list in the form of policies.
33. Disability and Development Partners Disability and HIV & Aids in Mozambique (April 2008) 8, available at: http://www.ddpuk.org/full-report.pdf (accessed 26 September 2013).
35. ‘FAMOD deplora inacessibilidade da Assembleia da República para os deficientes’ 6 December 2012, available at: http://www.verdade.co.mz/destaques/democracia/32706-famod-deplora-inacessibilidade-da-assembleia-da-republica-para-os-deficientes (accessed 26 September 2013).