October Quarterly Update 2021
Mozambique Emergency Response
The regional body, the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) continued to prevaricate on decisive action on Mozambique even though reports of continuing violence in the Cabo Delgado region were increasing. Crisis Action and partners continued to apply pressure on SADC to intervene to halt the violence and enable humanitarian assistance to reach the affected region.
Pushing for humanitarian aid to reach civilians in Cabo Delgado
After months of delays and inaction, at a SADC extraordinary summit held in Maputo on 23 June, the regional body announced the deployment of a SADC Standby Force, the formation of a Humanitarian and Emergency Response Operations Centre in Nacala and also encouraged member states to work in “..collaboration with Humanitarian Agencies to continue providing humanitarian support to the population affected by the terrorist attacks, in Cabo Delgado, including the internally displaced persons”. The ICRC told the team that from their insights, these decisions were a direct result of the advocacy coordinated by Crisis Action.
To achieve this, Crisis Action:
- Drafted a petition signed by 30 local and international partners asking SADC to include humanitarian, political and justice considerations in their response. While the summit was abruptly postponed, Crisis Action received the assurances from the SADC Executive Secretary Dr Tax that “…your advice, concerns noted, and advice appreciated and will be taken into account!”
- Designed and initiated a social media campaign. When Mozambique President Nyusi and South Africa President Ramaphosa visited Paris for the Financing of African Economies Summit on 18 May, partners took to Twitter calling to attention the need for France to prioritise civilian lives over gas interests. (French energy company Total is one of the main investors in the conflict-hit region of Cabo Delgado). With nearly a million impressions, the campaign led to a number of partner interviews in Mozambique media, increasing pressure for action on the issue.
- Ahead of the SADC summit at the end of May, Crisis Action supported The Sapes Trust, the Centre for Good Governance, IJR and CDC Mozambique to hold a regional panel discussion. Providing empirically-based analysis and evidence of the need for a comprehensive rights-based approach in Mozambique, and to display regional solidarity with the people of Cabo Delgado.
- When the SADC Summit reconvened at the end of May, Crisis Action supported partners including Amnesty, Open Society Foundations, CDC Mozambique, Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation, social movement Africans Rising, the Dennis Hurly Peace Institute, and Plan among others, stormed twitter reaching about a million users across the region – sending messages to SADC leaders on the need to prioritise the women, men, children in the affected areas.
Challenges and the way ahead
Unfortunately, the planned documentary exposé will not achieve the impact initially hoped. The protracted uncertainty around troop deployment (and therefore filming crew security), coupled with the onset of a devastating third wave of Covid-19 infections in the Southern Africa region, led to delays in the documentary production team going to Cabo Delgado. However, in light of the Mozambican government’s request for Rwandan troop deployment, Crisis Action has as such decided to adjust the campaign to a market response helping partners finalise some of the campaign products that were already ongoing.